bulbs inquiry

sgullJanuary 23, 2014

I was given some "old" store-bought bags of two different types of bulbs, hyacinth and crocus. While in the bag they've sprouted out and look like this.
What should I do with them at this point? It's wintertime and I don't really have my outside gardens ready for doing any planting yet. My hope would be to do something with these inside until such time as I get around closer to spring to do some planting outside. If I put the bulbs these in an indoor pot for now, how deep should I plant them with their current stage of sprouting? Do they need much natural light for a while or can I just leave them in my windowless office cubical where they'll get at least 8 hours artificial light each day. Any comment/advice appreciated. I've never planted bulbs in my life.

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mandolls(4)

hyacinth and crocus both need winter chill to get them going which is why they are planted in the fall.

I would put them in a baggie with some peat moss or vermiculite and just put them in the fridge for now - then plant them outside as early in the spring as you can.

People do force bulbs inside in the winter - look into the bulb forums, or google it if you are interested.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 10:36AM
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sgull

Thanks mandoll for the helpful reply. I was careless before posting here and neglected to even notice there is a bulb forum which of course would've been the more appropriate forum for my post. Now I know, and thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:08AM
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dowlinggram

Since they are already sprouted why not force them and enjoy the flowers now. All you need is a wide shallow pot. The do sell forcing pots at most place you can buy pots. You want a pot that is only a little bit taller than the bulb. Put some soil in the bottom and arrange the bulbs close together around the pot. Fill with soil so the sprouts are sticking above the soil line. Water and stick on a window sill or somewhere they get some light. They will grow and bloom. When they are finished blooming put them in a cool dry place with no sunlight and plant them out in the fall. Do not cut back the foliage. The foliage feeds the bulb for the next years growth

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:06PM
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sgull

Thanks dowlinggram for the suggestion/advice. If it's that easy maybe I'll just go that route then. How close together, without getting too close together, should I arrange the bulbs in the shallow pot? Will they grow and bloom in artificial office lighting or would it be quite a bit better to get them onto a windowsill or somewhere where they'll get at least some natural light? Plus, I suppose I could use my imagination but I'm wondering what's a simple method to make a good homemade forcing pot for these bulbs, one that'll have good drainage so the soil doesn't get waterlogged eventually with repeated watering.

This post was edited by sgull on Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 13:45

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:30PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

They will do best in real light but I would keep them in a cool dark place first for a few weeks to try and get some root growth. The green will go pale but it will green up again when you bring them into the light. Forced bulbs can be placed close together - even touching each other - it's not a problem because they only spend a short time in the pot. Just consider how large the flower will be and put them so the flowers are not too crammed together. I don't know what a 'forcing pot' is. I just use any plant pot with drainage holes in the bottom. And personally , I plant hyacinths into the garden immediately they have finished blooming. I don't keep them until the Autumn.

I am not too hopeful about the size and quality of the blooms you will get from these bulbs, though, because normally you make sure there is a good root system before you allow the green shoot to start growing. The picture shows hyacinths I forced in water so you can see the amount of root that leads to good flowering plants. I do hyacinths every year.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 6:59AM
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sgull

After dowlinggram's reply I went ahead and put some soil in the bottom of a two different shallow (2 1/2 inch high) pots (with drainage holes on bottom) that are just a little taller than the two sizes of bulb(s), and arranged the bulbs close together (almost touching) around in the pots. I'd say there's half an inch of soil between the bottom of the bulbs and the bottom of the pots. Then I filled with soil until just the spouts are sticking up above the soil line, and watered. But now I'm not sure, with the contrasting advice, whether I should stick them on a window sill or somewhere they'll get some light, or put them in a cool dark place for a few weeks while I await some root growth. The pots are clear plastic so hopefully when/if some root growth begins to happen I might be able to see some such roots through the pot, but that may be rather difficult with the soil in there to actually tell without lifting the bulbs out of the soil to take a good look. If I do notice some roots, is that the time to transplant the bulbs into bigger pots with more soil, or should I just allow them to grow in those shallow pots until I finally see blooming and then replant them? Or is the idea supposed to be not to replant them and leave them in these forcing pots until such time as I plant them in the garden? With the way I've got these bulbs now all close together in my shallow pots and the shallow soil there's no way the roots can ever get nice and long and straight as shown in floral_uk's photo. Not if I leave them in my shallow pots. Do I want to leave them in the shallow pots until I actually see flowers blooming? How long are we talking here, a month maybe or quite a bit longer?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:40AM
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sgull

Here's a photo of what I got going. Seem about right or not really?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 12:05PM
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