DIY Forced Bulbs

20 Mar 2017

Monet famously said, "I must have flowers, always and always," which I guess is not surprising since he somewhat obsessively painted them, but I am right there with him. I think we all have those little things that we buy that cheer us up or are hard to resist and for me it is a plant or flowers.

It's a bit of an problem really and luckily my hubs just laughs or teases me about being the plant version of a cat lady. Anyway, I have declared a new activity for New Years Day and that is planting indoor bulbs. It seems like the perfect way for me to begin the new year and also in a few short weeks I will have a little taste of spring around the house, which is usually exactly what I need by February.

It is surprisingly easy, you just stick a bulb on top of some dirt or rocks and water occasionally. The only insight you must have is which type of bulb you will plant. There are two varieties - one that you have to chill for at least 12 weeks or those that do not need chilling, which are really only *Paperwhite Narcissus and *Amaryllis .

Or the best of both worlds option, which is to buy pre-chilled bulbs.

Here is a sampling of some beginner bulb timings:

15 weeks pre-chilling
2-3 weeks to bloom after chill
17 - 18 total weeks

12-15 weeks pre-chilling
2-3 weeks to bloom after chill
17 - 18 total weeks

13-15 weeks pre-chilling
2-3 weeks to bloom after chill
17 - 18 total weeks

Mini Daffodil
15 - 17 weeks pre-chilling
2-3 weeks to bloom after chill
17 - 18 total weeks

No chill time
Refer to packaging for bloom time, it greatly varies.

No chill time
3 - 5 Weeks to bloom

*Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links, which means I receive a percentage of the proceeds if you make a purchase using these links. I do own these products, think they are great, and purchased them with my own hard earned cash :) *

DIY Forced Bulbs


  • Container for bulbs: Jars, Tall glass cylinders, vintage dishes, specific indoor bulb vase, etc
  • Growing material - small rocks or soil
  • Bulbs - choose between two types: those that require chilling (at least 12 weeks) or those bulbs that don't. *See above*
  • Floral moss (optional)
  • Decorative string and tags if gifting


(For Chilled Bulbs)
Fill your container with your growing material and make sure that it is at least 2" deep.

Press bulbs on top of soil (root side down) about 1/2" apart and it is best to keep the same variety together incase they require different chill times.

Water thoroughly and label the type and date planted.

Find a location where the bulbs can be kept at a temperature between 35 - 45 degrees F (we have a lovely extra garage fridge that I use) for the chilling time duration.

Keep the bulbs moist, but not wet and in the dark.

When chill time has ended, place in indirect sun in at least 60 degrees F and wait for blooming.

This is also the time that I add the moss on top of the dirt, it is purely decorative - I just think it looks nicer.

If gifting, this would be the time to send off. Include watering and growing instructions.

Keep bulb soil moist, but not wet or bulbs will rot. If using pebbles keep water line constant at root level so that it does not touch the bulb.

(Non-Chilled Bulbs) If doing Paperwhites or Amaryllis, you can skip all the chilling steps, just plant in desired container and wait for blooming. And keep in mind you can also buy pre-chilled bulbs, if you didn't want to chill them yourself or do those two flower types.

Notes: Paperwhites can get droopy as they grow taller. You can prevent this by watering with an alcohol and water solution when the leaves are about 1 - 2 inches above the bulb. You only want about 4 - 6% of rubbing alcohol in the solution. This basically stunts the growth of the stems, but not the blooms. You could also plant the bulbs in a clear tall cylinder.



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