The advantages to forcing bulbs from scratch is using your own container or pot to match your holiday table setting or home décor. Most importantly, you can select high quality bulbs through catalogs or at your local nursery. To force bulbs from scratch, you will need:
- 4-5 Bulbs (odd numbers look best)
- 2-3 sheets of newspaper
- One clean 6-8” pot with drainage holes and saucer. (Earl May Seed & Nursery says, “Paperwhites can be planted in 1 to 2 inches of pea gravel if the container does not have a drainage hole.”) I would use a shallow pot for this method.
- Equal parts potting soil, sand, perlite, and peat moss (or pea gravel).
- Cut three layers of newspaper to fit over drainage hole. This will keep the soil from running out.
- Blend potting soil, sand, perlite, and peat moss and fill the pot half full. (If using pea gravel, fill pot 1 – 2 inches full.)
- Place bulbs point ends up without touching one another. Cover with soil mixture keeping the tips exposed. (Do no cover if planting in pea gravel.)
- Water well. (If planting in pea gravel, add enough water to bring the level to the base of the bulb.)
- Place in a well-lite area. Keep moist, not soggy. Do not let the soil (or pea gravel) dry out.
The Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service recommend the following varieties for forcing:
Tulips (Apricot Beauty, Bing Crosby, Edith Eddy, Mirjorma, Yokohama, Jingle Bells, Attila, White Dream, Princess Victoria, White Swallow, Estella Rijnveld)
Crocus (Pickwick, Rembrance, Flower Record, Peter Pan, Purpurea Grandiflora)
Hyacinths (Amethyst, Blue Jacket, Jan Bros, L’Innocence, Pink Pearl, Delft Blue, Hollyhock, Anna Marie, Violet Pearl, Gypsy Queen, Carnegie)
Muscari (Blue Spike, Early Giant)
Daffodils and Narcissus (Barrett Browning, Bridal Crown, Dutch Master, Ice Follies, Paperwhites, Golden Harvest, Spell Binder, Salome, Pink Charm, Flower Record, Louis Armstrong, Unsurpassable, Tete-a-Tete, Jenny, Barrett Browning, Cheerfulness)
Misc. (Snowdrops, Dutch Irises, Blue Squill, and Glory-of-the-snow)