Forcing bulbs to bloom inside during winter is a wonderful way to brighten your home with living floral displays. While many bulbs can be forced, some are easier than others when it comes to reliably getting them to put on their flowering show indoors. Here are the 10 easiest bulbs to force along with tips for success!
Topping the list as the absolute easiest are paperwhites. Requiring zero chilling time, paperwhite narcissus will bloom in just 4-6 weeks when grown in water, pebbles or soil. Their delightfully fragrant blooms are perfect for wrecking vases and glass bulbs.
Amaryllis are another foolproof choice that only need 6-8 weeks of chilling before producing their huge, exotic blooms in stunning colors. Plant the bulbs halfway up the soil line and situate in full sun for best results.
Though they require 12-14 weeks of chilling, pre-chilled hyacinth bulbs readily bloom indoors with little fuss, rewarding you with highly scented flowers in shades like pink, purple and yellow.
4. Grape Hyacinths
Charming grape hyacinths only need 8-10 weeks of chill time before unfurling their tiny bell-shaped blooms packed onto slender stalks. Their colors are more limited but they’re easy to grow.
Cheerful crocus are easy to force indoors after 10-12 weeks in the fridge, adding bright splashes of yellow, purple or white to late winter. Plant in pots or forcing vases.
6. Mini Daffodils
While large daffodils need 14+ weeks of chilling, miniature varieties like Tete-a-Tete require slightly less time at 12-14 weeks. Their cute, bright blooms are ideal for indoor forcing.
7. Muscari (Grape Hyacinths)
Muscari or grape hyacinths are small treasures that only need 8-10 weeks of chilling before sending up their charming little flowers clustered on upright stems, resembling grapes.
8. Scilla (Squills)
Scilla are another type of tiny bulb that’s easy to force after 10-12 weeks in the fridge. Pretty blue, pink or white blooms open on short stalks.
9. Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow)
Glory of the snow offer some of the first blooms of spring, and only require 8-10 weeks of chilling before forcing. Dainty blue or white blooms with yellow centers.
10. Anemone blanda
Anemone blanda produce cheerful daisy-like blooms in shades of white, blue and pink. They need a slightly longer chill time of 14-16 weeks but make a cheery addition to the late winter garden.
Ranking of Ease of Forcing
|Ease of Forcing
|Easiest – no chill
|Very Easy – 6-8 weeks
|Easy – 8-10 weeks
|Easy – 10-12 weeks
|Moderate – 12-14 weeks
|Moderate – 12-14 weeks
|Moderate – 10-12 weeks
|Moderate – 8-10 weeks
|More difficult – 14-16 weeks
Follow the chill times, provide bright light and proper moisture, and these eager bulbs will flourish into gorgeous blooms indoors, no matter how frosty it is outside!
Tips for Forcing Bulbs Indoors
- Choose large, firm bulbs and keep cool (40-50°F) during the chilling period.
- After chilling, move bulbs to a warm (60-70°F) spot to trigger blooming.
- Provide bright light from a south or west-facing window or grow lights.
- Check water levels often, keeping soil moist but not soaked.
- Rotate pots regularly so stems grow upright instead of leaning towards light.
- Remove faded blooms to allow plants to direct energy to developing bulbs for next year.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes bulbs not to bloom indoors?
Insufficient chilling time, keeping bulbs in too cold or warm of conditions, overwatering, or lack of sunlight can prevent blooming.
Can I plant forced bulbs outdoors after blooming?
Yes, bulbs can be planted outside after blooming to continue their growth cycle if planted at the right time.
Do I need special pots or vases for forcing bulbs?
Shallow pots work well, but forcing vases or hyacinth glasses allow bulb roots to reach down into water easily.
What’s the best way to chill bulbs before planting?
Refrigerating bulbs in a paper bag for the recommended time is an easy chilling method. A cool garage also works if temps are 40-50°F.
Can I re-force bulbs that have bloomed indoors?
Most spring blooming bulbs can be chilled and forced to bloom again for multiple years if cared for properly between bloom seasons.
Time to Bring Spring Inside!
Forcing bulbs like paperwhites, amaryllis, hyacinths, grape hyacinths and daffodils is an easy way to decorate with living floral beauty even during winter. Follow proper planting and care instructions, and these willing bulbs will turn your indoor space into a mini spring paradise. No winter doldrums here – just cheerful blossoms and fragrances to brighten your day!