July 23, 2015

Forced Bulb Decisions

When the daily 'feels like' is 110º one has to think cool thoughts. Nothing is as cooling as thinking about forced bulbs for the dead of winter.

After decades of forced bulbs in water, I've narrowed to a favorite: Hyacinths planted in pots of soil.

Mama always forced paperwhites in water. I was surprised to learn as an adult that not everybody's mother forced bulbs. It was as much a part of our Christmas as oranges and peppermint candy.

Mama never forced Amaryllis. I plan to skip a year of buying new Amaryllis bulbs and just see what reblooms this winter.

The hard part now is deciding which Hyacinths. I simplified that decision last year by buying locally a bag of mixed hyacinths. They ran mostly to pink shades despite the picture on the bag that showed blues and whites and yellows as well.

This is how they ended up after I picked out the dark bulbs and separated them from the tan bulbs so there was a better chance of all in a pot of 5 being in the same color family.

The previous year I planted pink, and white and the year before that, blue.


A single bulb makes a grand little gift.
Five in a pot is even better.

The pink colors seem to do best at persisting when they're put in ground after that forced bloom in pots. Bulbs planted in soil can just be slipped into the ground after bloom, pinching off the florets.

I have to hurry and place my order before I start looking back and reminiscing about how I have, too, brought tulips to successful bloom and my careful plans are out the window and I am ordering purple tulips again.

Gypsy Queen Hyacinths and purple tulips. 

More of my Hyacinths are HERE.

Do you force bulbs in winter? Do you have a favorite? Do you have a favorite vendor?

After note: I have decided on my bulbs and will place an order with Longfield Gardens very soon. I won a gorgeous Amaryllis bulb and some tulips before and think I owe them some allegiance on this order.


Alison said...

I do have a couple of favorite bulb vendors -- Brent and Becky, and John Scheepers. I'm too ready for a break in gardening when fall comes, I find it hard to get enthusiastic about getting back down on my knees and digging more holes. I should just put them in pots.

outlawgardener said...

Some years I've forced amaryllis but this last winter, inspired by your forcing, I did a pot of blue hyacinths, several amaryllis, and paperwhites. I had the space in the greenhouse and it gave me an excuse to go out there more often. I've saved the bulbs, Amaryllis are growing away, so we'll see what happens. I'll likely force some new ones this year as well. I also like Brent and Beckys but my favorite if you need large quantities of bulbs for lower prices is Van Engelen.

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