Forcing spring-blooming tulips (Tulipa spp.) Lights inside can provide you flowers in midwinter. January care depends on whether the lights are thriving or if they are still in their inactive state. Tulips rise in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, based on the number, but hardiness is only a concern if you intend to transfer the bulbs outdoors after forcing.
Getting Ready in Fall
Planting tulip bulbs in pots and placing them in cold storage for 12 to 16 weeks in autumn ensures they are all set to blossom or already flowering in January. Pot in 5- to 6-inch diameter pots employing any well-draining permeable medium. Use pots with drainage holes. Generally, four or five tulip lights add a pot this size. Plant the tulip bulbs using the flat side facing the sides of the grass, setting the lights so they re virtually touching and also the wax hints are protruding from the soil. After potting, moisten the soil and set the entire pot in a plastic bag. Store the grass in a place that is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, like the fridge or outside if it will be that cold for 2 weeks. The cold treatment shoves the lights out of dormancy so they flower earlier in sunlight.
After cold treatment, tulips need a warming period to start sending up shoots. You may remove the pots out of cold storage at any given time after 12 weeks has passed. Keep the pots somewhere around 50 to 60 F that gets indirect sunlight. After the initial shoots begin turning green, which can take about a week, transfer them to someplace that is around 60 to 70 F where the tulips receive bright, all-day sun. Water the tulips once the soil’s surface feels dry, but drain the excess water from the drip tray beneath the grass afterward. It can take up to four weeks to get the very first flowers to blossom, so removing the pots out of storage in December will provide you January flowers.
Tulips need little care when they are in blossom. Turning the pots a quarter-turn each day promotes the stems to grow straight because each of the surfaces of the plants receive even lighting. Flowering tulips still need water once the top 1 inch of soil feels dry, but avoid overhead watering that wets the leaves and blossoms, because this can cause the petals to drop early. After a flower wilts, cut it off so it does not detract from the rest of the blooms.
Once a tulip has been forced, you can not force it a second time and it’s not likely to flower again in a warm climate. It’s ideal to discard bulbs that have been forced and begin again with fresh bulbs the next calendar year. If you want tulips in your garden, refrigerate bulbs for three months, starting in August, then plant them out and treat them as winter annuals.