Forcing hyacinths

evaldasSeptember 16, 2011

If you plant dry hyacinth bulbs (without potting them) in the refrigerator and then after some weeks you plant them in a pot, do they bloom OK? If yes, how many weeks would I need to keep the bulbs in the fridge?

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All hardy bulbs need a period of cooling at temperatures
between 35úF - 50úF (2C - 10C) to prepare them for later
leaf and flower growth.
The refrigerator is an ideal place to store them. (keep them away from fruit in the crisper)
You haven't said just in what locale you live so I'll assume its not in the sunny south where bulbs are often given a cooling time before sale. 14 - 15 weeks is the period of cooling. If you store them in the refrigerator for more than 3 weeks, subtract 3 weeks from the required cooling time.
Many people find a root cellar (coldcellar) is fine and dandy for cooling bulbs. If not there, then a cool part of the basement should be found where they can remain undisturbed but kept moist in soil.
In this inactive time they form roots and should be checked weekly.
Do not in any way allow the pots to freeze.
At the forcing stage, the pots are brought out of their cool environment into warmth and light. This triggers the formation of leaves and flowers. From the time they are removed from the cool they require about 3 to 4 weeks to bloom. To delay bloom, draw them back from the light and give them less water. DO NOT put them into darkness. To hasten bloom give them more light but watch giving them too much water but do keep them moist throughout the forcing period.

If starting about now..late September...early October..can be brought to bloom about Christmas. If you plan on cooling a number of bulbs, you might bring only a few to the warmth and prolong the flowering period.
The warmth I speak of should be at 60�F and direct sunlight.
Rotate the pots regularly ensuring all parts receive adequate sunlight.

After forcing, hardy bulbs cannot be forced again. Some bulbs (daffodils) may be planted in the spring in the garden where, over a span of 2 - 3 years, may bloom again.
Tulips and hyacinths should be disposed of in the compost.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 5:40PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Hyacinths can certainly be planted out in the garden after forcing. They will flower again but the bloom will be airier and less dense than the first year indoors. I have many in my garden which have bloomed for years.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 9:04AM
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I'm sorry. I still haven't heard a clear answer.
Can hyacinth be forced to bloom by keeping dry (unpotted) bulbs in the refrigerator for about 12-14 weeks and then planted in pots?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 2:32PM
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socalgal_gw Zone USDA 10b Sunset 24

Yes. You can put unpotted hyacinth bulbs in the fridge for a cooling period then plant them in pots. I cool them for 8-12 weeks. There should not be apples in the fridge during that time as they give off a gas which may prevent the bulb from flowering. Once the chilled bulbs have been potted, I try not to let the pots get too warm until the flower buds show. With tulips I've had trouble with them not blooming if the pots get too warm (I live in Southern California where it can get warm in January, the bulbs get too warm if the pots are in the sun at 70F.) I haven't had the trouble with hyacinths but it doesn't hurt to be careful.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 4:55PM
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