Forcing Daffodil and Tulip Bulbs

Q: I have some tulip and daffodil bulbs left over from fall planting. How do I "force" them for indoor bloom?

A: If the bulbs are still dry and firm, pot them up in clean pots, using ordinary potting soil. Large bulbs like tulips and daffodils should be covered with soil with just their tips exposed. Water the bulbs well and put the pots in a cool (40- to 45-degree Fahrenheit) spot for approximately 14 weeks. When the bulbs begin to sprout, move the pots into bright but still very cool (60-degree) rooms. When flower buds appear, move the pots to a place where you can enjoy them.

Although you cannot "re-force" these bulbs, they can be planted in the garden early next spring. After your potted bulbs have finished blooming, move the pot to a sunny windowsill and allow the foliage to completely wither. Be sure to water the plant during this process. As long as the foliage remains green, it is continuing to manufacture food for the bulb. If you remove it prematurely, you run the risk of depleting the bulb’s energy.