How to care for forced bulb collections

The bulbs in our forced bulb collections (which may include Crocus, Hyacinths, Iris, Muscari, Narcissus, and Tulips) arrive potted, with a layer of protective Spanish Moss on top. With a pair of scissors, snip the rubber band that holds the Spanish Moss in place. You may discard the Moss, or use it as a decorative element on top of the pots. (As the bulbs grow, rearrange the Moss so that it does not become tangled in the foliage.)

Set the pots on a sunny windowsill in a cool room. A nighttime temperature of about 50-55°F, such as is found near a window, is ideal. Water when the potting mix is dry to the touch. We recommend removing the pots from the basket or cachepot before watering. Push any Spanish Moss aside, water the pots thoroughly and let them drain before replacing in the basket. Rearrange the Moss around the leaves.

There is no need to fertilize. Please note that the growth of the bulbs will be slower in a cooler part of the house. Warmer temperatures may speed growth, but can result in weaker flowering stems. Bulbs usually begin blooming 4-5 weeks after arrival.

What you do with your bulbs after they bloom depends on your climate and your inclinations. The bulbs can't be forced to bloom indoors again, but they can be planted outdoors--if they are hardy in your area. (Most of the bulbs in our collections are winter hardy to at least Zone 4 [-30°F]. Narcissus 'Avalanche' is hardy to Zone 6 [-10°F].) Continue to water the bulbs after they bloom and keep them in a sunny window. When the threat of hard frost has passed, plant each bulb with a trowel at a depth equivalent to about three times the bulb's height. Expect 2 or more years to pass before the bulbs bloom again. In our experience, Tulips will rarely bloom again. In fact, we think caring for the bulbs after bloom and planting them out in spring is rarely worth the effort, so we prefer simply to toss the bulbs out after they've finished blooming. However, we know of customers who enjoy the process and don't mind the wait.

Email Sign Up

Subscribe to enjoy gardening advice, email offers & more