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Forcing Tulip Bulbs

How to trick tulip bulbs into thinking winter is over to bring intoxicating colours and scents into the darkest months of the year

Step 1

Place tulip bulbs in a cool, dark place (35 to 45 degrees F) for 14-16 weeks.

We've been storing your tulip bulbs at Elmslie since mid-October, so this part os already done. 

Step 1 - Making the Bulbs Think It's Winter

Place tulip bulbs in a cool, dark place (35 to 45 degrees F) for 14-16 weeks.

We've been storing your tulip bulbs at Elmslie since mid-October, so this part os already done. 

Step 2 - Prepare your pots and soil  

Fill a large container with enough potting soil to fill your tulip pot. Dampen the soil thoroughly, mixing it together with your hands to distribute the water, and then fill the tulip pot with the damp soil, 3-4 inches below the rim of the pot.

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Step 3 - Plants the bulbs

Place tulip bulbs on top of the soil, pointy end up, crowding them together so they are almost touching. Cover the bulbs with more dampened potting soil. Write the date on a piece of tape and stick it on the pot. 

Step 4 - Mimic the slowly warming days of spring 

Place the pots in a cool, dark place. A basement or unheated garage is fine. the place must be cool so the bulbs have sufficient time to wake up and grow. 

Water lightly about once a week until you see leaves starting to grow. It's important not to let the soil dry out. The bulbs are living things and need moisture to help them slowly come to life. 

Step 5 - Lots of bulbs? Plant one pot a week for 4 weeks 

If you have a lot of tulip bulbs, divide the bulbs into 4 bags, and plant one pot one per week for four weeks and you will have tulips blooming in your home for weeks. 

Step 6 - Spring has arrived! 

Once leaves appear, place pots in a location where they will get bright, but indirect light. 

Your forced tulips should flower in two to three weeks after being brought into the light.

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