Forcing Freesia and Ranunculus Bulbs Indoors

cenordstromFebruary 1, 2010


I am not completely new to forcing but I have only done paperwhites, amaryllis and some very unsuccessful crocuses. But neither of the bulbs (or variations thereof) are like the paperwhite/amaryllis variety, they are dry so I am not sure what to do with them.

I got Freesias corms for christmas and a little bag of Ranunculus bulbs for my sister, which I would like to force indoors. I've read that the R. should be soaked in warm water prior to planting and that they should be planted 1-2" deep, 5" apart. For the Freesias I've read that they can be planted 2" deep, 1" apart.

My question is: do either need pre-chilling? My apartment is pretty hot most of the time (and I don't get to control the thermostat :( ) so if they need 60 degree temperatures, would it be better to put them in the fridge for 6-8 weeks?

Any advice on planting these flowers would be appreciated!

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Freesias and Ranunculus don't need chilling. The catch is they don't have flower buds already fully formed in the bulb--like Narcissus or Hippeastrum do have--so they need to grow foliage in bright, cool conditions for 2-3 months before they form flower buds. Nurseries do it in cool greenhouses. The urban gardener's best bet is in a cool room (around 60°-65°), in a sunny bay window.

In your situation, you might be better off storing them in dry, warm conditions until around the last frost, then plant them in pots in the sun outdoors.

Hope this helps,
Kevin : )

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 10:52PM
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Thanks for the reply! I'll try to find some place indoors-- it won't be warm enough to have them here outside until April or May, and at that point it will quickly become too hot.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 7:39PM
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I didn't know they needed light to form buds! Thank you for this. In my situation the light came with the area they are planted in.

BTW, I planted a lot of freezias I got from a Big Box at 75% off. I plant them above hyacinths in urn like pots outside.

After I planted, we got 10 inches of snow. There was no way to move them inside and the snow was such a surprise here near Dallas, TX that I forgot about them and didn't cover the pots.

I thought these "delicate" bulbs would be lost but this weekend I saw signs of green foliage and the hyacinths are leaping out now, so they pushed several bulbs out too. They are firm and healthy. Guess they are tougher than I thought.

Thanks again

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 10:22PM
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I spotted boxes of ranunculus at Sam's today. They are not the giants. I'm guessing that if Sam's has them maybe Walmart does too.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 6:49PM
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