Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How To Force Bulbs For Christmas


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Wow, it's November already! 
Yay! This means that "Christmas preparations" season is officially open in my home. I've already made up my mind about what colors to use for the holidays. And the hyacinth bulbs are already being forced tricked to be in full bloom for the magic evening of December the 24th. 
Having tiny paper-whites and hyacinths and crocus flowers in the middle of the winter season feels wonderful. Need proof? These are my little touches of life from last year (yes, I stumbled upon these old pics and thought they would make a great tutorial). I advise everyone to buy some bulbs and force them to bloom. First you need to chill the bulbs in the fridge for 4-6 weeks. Better yet, you can buy pre-chilled bulbs almost everywhere nowadays! Just follow these VERY simple steps:



1. Fill a tiny vase with gravel. Instead of gravel, you may use rocks or clay pellets. Or just use gardening soil.
2. Fill the vase with water. Make sure you use clean, filtered water. If you pour tap water directly into the vase, the chlorine in the water will damage the plants. For chlorine-free water, pour tap water into a bottle and let it "breathe" for 3 days - and the chlorine will slowly evaporate (so don't close the bottle!).



3. Put the bulb on top of the gravel (if you use a larger pot, squeeze in as many bulbs as you can, depending on their size). Make sure that the bottom of the bulb doesn't touch the water (or else the bulb will rot and then it's goodbye, beautiful hyacinths!)
4. Special note for bloggers: If you think that your bulbs are too beautiful to be stacked away for a few weeks, now is your chance to grab them and make a few arrangements and photos, before they start growing roots. I couldn't help myself and made a vignette using kitchen bowls and the DIY washi tape vase :)



5. Leave the bulbs in a cool, dry place. I put mine in the cabinet on the balcony, which is the coldest corner of the apartment. After 10 days, little roots were starting to show already. Maintain the water level by adding a few drops now and then - always making sure that the water doesn't touch the bulbs.
6. When the leaves are already a few inches tall, you can move the hyacinths some place warm and sunny.



For example, my Christmas bulb came to live with us on the kitchen shelf. We admired its delicate beauty in all the stages. Watching a plant grow little by little every day and forming blooms under your very eyes - priceless! So hurry up and buy your own bulbs if you haven't done it already, because Christmas is coming in just 8 weeks :)



28 comments:

  1. I forced both tulips and daffodils couple of years ago for their winter blooming. It was great :)

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    Replies
    1. Last year I forced tulips, as well - it was a total fiasco, they never gave roots! So this year I bought the hyacinths again (in different colors) and some crocus. Perhaps the tulip bulbs needed a little more chilling in the fridge.

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    2. I had them in a cellar, in dark for 2 weeks, already touching the gravel with some water. then I moved them in the kitchen window, at sunlight, it bloomed after a while. next year I moved those bulbs to the garden. funny thing happend, now tulips have plenty of leaves, but no flower whatsoever :(
      oh, well...

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  2. I've never been succeed in this subject but I determined for this year. I will do it..
    It looks wonderful.

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    Replies
    1. You have to try again, the little flowers are so beautiful to look at! Last year I also bought some tulips but they never gave roots. Only the hyacinths had leaves and flowers! Perhaps I didn't freeze the tulip bulbs enough time in the refrigerator. This year I didn't buy any more tulips, but I bought some crocus instead :)

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  3. A mi me encantan los bulbos Meehha .. Tengo uno en casa,, I le your Photos
    Besos

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  4. i had no idea you could do such a thing! but i am not convinced i could, even with these fantastic tips. i seem to be the grim reaper where house plants are concerned. i really do think it's in a persons DNA - no matter what i do they die. i have even killed off a few airplants!! i keep trying but right now i am on a break because i am feeling guilty for my last years efforts and my grave of house plants.

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    Replies
    1. Don't be a quitter, Christine! Do you think I was born with a green thumb? Let me tell you this: in my first two years as an indoor gardening enthusiast, I killed all of my plants, too! Then I started to read extensively on the internet about the history and care of every plant I had. I've read for days... The trick is to pay attention to all sorts of stuff, like position, light, temperature etc. and especially to watch the plants closely. In my learning days, I inspected each plant twice a day, every day. Even now, most plants in the bedroom catch an unknown disease. And the ones on the sunny balcony may not survive the scorching sun of hot Romanian summers. So the key is to love them, to care for them like you would do with a sick child... and to never give up :)

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    2. okay, that makes me feel better, i will keep trying!!

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  5. I have been the recipient of some beautiful forced bulbs at Christmas time. Such a joy to see in the middle of winter! Maybe now I can be the giver of said joy! Thanks for sharing this!

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    Replies
    1. Better hurry up, Danni, or you'll have them bloom in January (which is not so bad, either, when I think about it!)

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  6. I'm so busy this year, that I completely forgot about my bulbs. Thanks for reminding me! I like them to bloom in January when I get really depressed by how far Spring still is!

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    Replies
    1. Then hurry up, you still have time to plant them! Unfortunately, I get very depressed in March or even April, because the sun and warm weather seem like they vanished forever :(

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  7. How great of an idea is this. I could have blossoming bulbs any time of the year.

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    Replies
    1. Well I never tried to force them in summer... Just make sure they are chilled first, Erika!

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  8. you won't believe me, I just bought a beaitiful hyacinth bulb... so now I need gravel mmh?

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    Replies
    1. Use gravel or beads or rocks, anything - because the water must not touch the bulb :) Good luck with the hyacinth, please post some photos when it grows!

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  9. I always do these for my Mum for Christmas - the scent is so heavenly isn't it. Your hyacinth looks so pretty in it's pink jug - gorgeous!

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  10. Love it! Oh, and I just realized Christmas is in 8 weeks! (big open eyes! alarm!) Greetings dear Meeha!

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  11. Lovely with the hyasint in the pretty vase! :) I have som bulbs I got some days ago. They should have been outside, under the ground. But I am very clever to waite too long. Maybe I should try this, with some of the bulbs! :) There are both crocus and tulips. Thanks for the metod! :)

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  12. thanks for the tip :)
    and do not miss..

    SATURDAY SHOW OFF

    it is FUN :)
    Welcome
    Håkan ( The Roseman)

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  13. I have not done this in years. Your beautiful photos and excellent tutorial makes me want to try again. Loved that stacked vignette!

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  14. Oh I have never done hyacinths before!...I want to try now because they are so pretty! Great job! I love the pics too!
    I would love if you link this posts to my Monday party tomorrow! XO
    http://lechateaudesfleurs.blogspot.com/

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  15. I always bought them blooming before... will try it with crocus, which are favourite spring flower. And I have to say, I am insanly jealous you manage to take such great, bright pictures in the middle of winter!

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  16. Great post and such helpful tips. Love that little pink pitcher. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

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  17. I just did my bulbs for Christmas, but I'm looking for advice about how to keep amaryliss bulbs balanced so they don't fall over. Anyone? I love the pink pitcher and it's perfect for hyacinths! I'm sharing your post on Google + today.

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  18. That is so clever! I had no idea about forcing bulbs! Thanks for linking up with Take It On Tuesday. Pinning! :)

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