Transplanting forced bulbs to garden
Q. I bought several small pots of flowering dwarf iris, crocus and mini-daffodils from the grocery store in February. What do I do with them after they flower?
A. These are all hardy bulbs in the Midwest and are normally planted outside in fall to bloom in early spring. This normal cycle of growth is disturbed when they are forced to bloom indoors in winter. Although many people discard them after they bloom, some gardeners treat them in the following fashion in the hopes they might bloom again outside in their gardens. Keep the plants in bright light and continue to water as needed. Apply a very dilute 5-10-5 fertilizer twice a month. Allow the foliage and flower stems to yellow completely before removing them. In spring, transplant the small bulbs to a sunny, well-drained location in your garden that does not require daily watering. Mark the spots so they will not be disturbed during their summer dormancy. Apply another dose of fertilizer in the fall. If they fail to come up the following spring, you can feel free to dig up the bulbs and discard them.