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Indoor Bulb Forcing: Part I

November 8, 2010

This is my first bulb-forcing kit. For five dollars, I thought it was worth buying. The idea of bulb forcing is to brighten the indoors of an otherwise dull winter season with bright blooms and fragrant scents.

The term “forcing” means to cause a plant to sprout, grow, and flower out of its natural environment and season. I didn’t have to buy a kit to do this but it sure seemed handy to have everything ready. However, as I looked through the contents (four Narcissus Paperwhite bulbs, one coir disk, and one pot), I noticed three problems:  No saucer, no drainage holes in the pot and the bulbs have sprouted.

All plants, even bulbs, need good drainage. The instructions don’t mention this which could saturate the bulbs and kill them. When buying bulbs, they should be firm and without sprouts. Curious about the results of sprouted and non-sprouted bulbs, I purchased four single Narcissus Paperwhite bulbs. Then, I decided to use one of my clay pots with drainage holes, and planted the non-sprouted bulbs in the center.

The kit instructions said to place the coir disk in the pot and add 3.5 cups of warm water. Once the water is completely absorbed by the coir disk, loosen the soil. Then press the bulbs nose up into the soil until just the tops stick out. Walter well and keep moist but not wet. Keep in a well-lit area out of direct sunlight. It should bloom in six weeks.

Keep your fingers crossed, and I’ll keep you posted on the results.

Note:  Some bulb-forcing kits come with decorative pots (no drainage holes, though), for about ten dollars.

Tomorrow, look for Indoor Bulb Forcing:  Part II, for instructions on how to do this from scratch.

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