Forcing bulbs
December 31, 2008 1:22 PM   Subscribe

The opportunity of having a whole glorious season of flowering daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths indoors during winter is a reality. A bright floral display and fragrant aroma is always welcome when snow is on the ground and bundling up to keep warm outside is a must.

Amaryllis are showy, and paperwhites a popular favorite. But any bulb will do. You can force tulips, hyacinths, daffodils.
posted by nax (10 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

posted by longsleeves at 1:29 PM on December 31, 2008

This would be a nice touch for domed sports stadiums. I imagine the linebackers would especially like the hyacinths.
posted by netbros at 1:35 PM on December 31, 2008

I like this! I was bummed that I didn't get my daffodil and tulip bulbs in the ground before winter. Maybe I'll try this. Need to go look up and see if they are poisonous to cats, now.
posted by bristolcat at 1:40 PM on December 31, 2008

Doing this involves using grow lights, right? And controlling the temperature so that the bulbs think it's spring? So that your house shows up nice-and-bright on those IR cameras the drug cops aren't supposed to use?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:05 PM on December 31, 2008

what if you have to bundle up to keep warm *inside * your house?
posted by RedEmma at 3:27 PM on December 31, 2008

I tried Amaryllis this year for the first time.
Stunning success! And me with my brown thumb. I had no idea it was so easy to make such a dramatic display. I just got one of these super easy kits. All you add is water.

Not sure what to do with the plant now that the flower has died. The leaves still look very cool. (I don't have a garden to put it into in the spring and I got yelled at for putting pots on the fire escape.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:41 PM on December 31, 2008

Doing this involves using grow lights, right?

Not at all. I have a not-very-sunny city windowsill and it's full of amaryllis and paperwhites right now. And I'd never grown anything before.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:43 PM on December 31, 2008

Any suggestions for cat owners? All of the bulbs listed are toxic to cats.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:19 PM on December 31, 2008

sebastienbailard, everything I can find suggests that bulbs in general are toxic to pets. The only thing I could find that might be okay was onion or garlic. There are sites that talk about forcing ornamental as well as edible alliums, but there were also many stating that they are hard to force (same with garlic), which is why I left them out. However, I believe it is the bulbs that are toxic and not the greenery or the blossoms, so if you can keep them from digging (place net or screening over the exposed bulbs), this might work.
posted by nax at 5:29 AM on January 1, 2009

Muscari (grape hyacinth) are non-toxic to cats. Daffodil, crocus, and iris bulbs are okay for cat owners if you keep the cat away from the bulbs themselves. Nibbling leaves and flowers of these plants might result in upset tummy and some vomiting, but shouldn't do any damage. I've forced crocus and iris with my indoor cats and had no problem.

If you've never forced before, be aware that the warmth and confines of the indoors can make fragrance more intense. I've had to discard paperwhites and dutch hyacinth because the smell was overwhelming to me.
posted by weebil at 11:53 AM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

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