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Brighten the Winter Months with Forced Flower Bulbs

By Alyssa Davis

For those who enjoy gardening, it can often be difficult to get through the long, cold winter season. Although indoor houseplants can provide a refreshing bit of life during the winter months, many people miss the sight of fresh flowers. Since the cost of buying flowers at a florist or grocery store on a regular basis can sometimes be a bit too much for the budget, many people just tolerate a winter without flowers. Fortunately, there's an easy and inexpensive solution to this problem. Although it takes a bit of advance planning, it's possible to grow beautiful spring flowers such as crocuses, daffodils and tulips in your home all winter long. In fact, you can start these bulbs at almost any time so that you can have beautiful flowers whenever you want them.

Supplies You Will Need

If you want to have beautiful spring flowers in bloom during the winter months, it is necessary to purchase bulbs in the fall. Since fall-planted bulbs such as crocuses, daffodils and tulips are usually plentiful and inexpensive, you can stock up on bulbs when your home and garden center has them on sale. When purchasing flower bulbs, focus on varieties which do not grow overly tall, since shorter flower stems will create the most pleasing indoor displays. Choose a nice assortment of varieties in the colors that appeal to you most. You'll also need some potting soil and a few containers for planting the bulbs. When choosing containers, those which are a bit shallow are usually the best choice.

Planting the Bulbs

Although you might be accustomed to planting daffodil and tulip bulbs spaced widely apart in the garden, you can plant them much closer together for indoor use. Start by placing approximately an inch or two of soil in the bottom of the pot. Place the bulbs on the soil with the pointed end sticking upwards, spacing them approximately a half inch apart. Make sure that the bulbs do not touch each other. Position tulip bulbs when planting so that the flatter portion of the bulb faces the edge of the pot, since this will create a nicer leaf display. Cover the bulbs with soil, leaving just the tip of the bulb exposed. Water the pot lightly so that it is moist but not wet. Then, place the container in a cool, dark area where a temperature of approximately 35 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit can be maintained. An unheated garage or a spare refrigerator can work well. However, never store your bulbs in a refrigerator along with fruits and vegetables, since this can be detrimental to the bulbs' proper development. Chill daffodils and crocuses for approximately 12 weeks, and tulip bulbs for 16 weeks. The pots can then be taken out of cold storage and placed in an area with indirect light and temperatures in the 50s. Once the leaves and stems have started to develop, move the pots to a warmer and sunnier location. You will soon have beautiful fresh spring flowers to enjoy.

If you want to try to save the bulbs for your garden, feed them with some plant food once they are out of cold storage and have started to grow. Flower bulbs have enough stored food resources to provide for one season of flowering. As such, once your bulbs have flowered, they cannot be forced to bloom again. However, if you plant the bulbs in the garden after they have flowered, in some cases they will recuperate and grow normally again in a few years.

Author, Alyssa Davis, is number one design specialist on decorating with cowboy western metal art and wolves metal art.

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