Can 'pre-forced' bulbs be kept again for next year?

stonejm(z6MA)March 8, 2010

This may be a naive question, but I have a pot of spring bulbs that were pre-forced, and have now finished blooming. I was wondering if there's any way to store the bulbs and get a "repeat" next winter. It's not practical for me to put them in the garden, which would be the wrong time of year now anyway. Or will I just have to throw them out?



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keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

You could let the leaves shrivel, get them out of the dirt and store them for the summer to try and force them next winter...but tulips need mother natures' cold season to produce blooms the next season, so you would have to chill them. For me.. that is too much work and after all of that, it doesn't mean you will positivly get blooms. I always just put the whole pot (just the bulbs and spoil)in the ground in the Spring (I know, wrong time of year but they always come back the following spring. I bury it deeper than how they grew and have had great success.

So yes, you can store them if you have the ambition but hopefully someone else will chime in about chilling them for next season's blooms.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 6:39AM
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Why would spring be the wrong time of year to put these in the ground? In many places, they sell pots of started bulbs in spring for those who never got around to planting the actual bulbs in fall......they return faithfully, just as a fall planted bulb would.

Bulbs will always "store" better in the ground than in any other conditions most of us can provide----it really doesn't matter all that much when they are planted. Keep the soil in the container just barely moist and leave all the foliage intact to ripen naturally. When your soil is workable, go ahead and plant outdoors in a suitable location. You will want to plant deeper than they are in the container and in well drained soiland in an area that does not get a lot of summer irrigation - dormant bulbs like to be on the dry side.

Forced bulbs often take some time to 'recharge' so flowering may not be prolific the next season.

If you can't plant outdoors, I'd suggest you just toss them. It is difficult for homeowners to provide the storage conditions necessary to maintain the bulbs' vigor for an entire season out of the ground and already forced bulbs complicate this even further.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 9:23AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

You don't say what bulbs these are. I always put hyacinths and narcissus straight out into the garden after they've finished flowering indoors. Just dig a hole and put the entire root mass into it while the foliage is still green. Tulips don't work so well for me. It will depend on where you live and what bulbs you have as to whether they will do well outside.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 2:37PM
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I am also confused why early spring would be the wrong time of year to put bulbs in the ground, particularly since you are in a temperate zone where it gets cold enough to naturally refrigerate the bulbs.

The only real problem with pre-forced bulbs is that they may have not got enough nutrients in the pot, and half-starved bulbs may not bloom the next year. Also tulips specifically are unlikely to bloom 2-3 years in a row regardless of treatment.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 6:20PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I do as Flora does. I have only forced hyacinths (or bought them forced) then planted them out as soon as I could, like April. They have all come back.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 7:33PM
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Thanks to everyone for your helpful responses. The pot had 3 tulips, a few mini narcissi, a hyacinth, and some crocuses. They were lovely and cheered us for a few weeks in dreary February here. We have a tiny, mostly shaded, garden, and a few of our garden bulbs have started to peek through, but no real room or place for the little pot. So I decided to chuck it, but now know more about the subject.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 12:08AM
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