Bringing on Spring

Forcing Indoor Blooms!

It’s March 1st and I’m ready for spring! How about you? I live in Canada and after a long, cold, white winter I’m longing for living color! I want to share a couple of ways one can bring on spring early to the indoors. One way is with flowering branches. I started these projects at the end of January. The first thing I did was cut off a few branches from my backyard flowering trees. The best time to cut flowering branches from your yard is in February or March, although you can start as early as January in some areas. Ideally, you can cut them after your trees and branches have had at least six weeks of chilling. I then made some homemade flower food, and placed the branches in water with the flower food(this is an important step to your success-they need flower food!) They’ll be in a sunny spot in my house and I’ll change the water about once every 4-6 days.

The second way is forcing tulips to bloom early. I purchased a couple of packages of tulip bulbs last fall and have been eagerly awaiting this day!

I took the tulip bulbs out of my refrigerator January 28/21. I had purchased them last fall at the end of September, and so they’ve been in cold storage for 4 months. I purchased McKenzie Pink Impression and McKenzie Red Impression tulip bulbs that came in packages of 20 each. They are supposed to reach a height of 22 inches.

While it may seem simple and straightforward to some people, which way to plant bulbs can be a bit confusing to others. 

When planting them, the pointy tip of the bulb goes up. If you’re not sure, just plant it on it’s side and it will find it’s way up. It’s all pretty easy, just make sure the bulbs aren’t touching one another. I squeezed them in because I want a beautiful, thick show of spring color!

I planted one smaller container for the kitchen table:

And one large container for a big splash of spring color for the front living room window. I start planting the bulbs in the center of the container and then work my way outwards, in case I’m not sure if I have enough bulbs to fill up all the space. I can always leave space around the outer edge if I run out of bulbs. I then topped up the soil until just the tips of the bulbs were poking through the soil and watered them well.

A couple of things to remember: you want to make sure your container has drain holes. Also, it’s best to use an all purpose potting soil, not soil from outdoors. If I had planted these earlier in soil and then kept them in cold storage, I would have planted the bulbs deeper. But because I’m forcing them to bloom quickly now, in a warm environment, I’ve planted them much more shallow.

After about 3 weeks this is what my flowering branches looked like. These branches were taken from my apple tree:

At 4 weeks this is what the tulips looked like:

It brings me joy and a lot of pleasure watching the progress of flowers growing and blooming up close. You can do this any time of the year as long as you let tulip bulbs have a dormant period in a colder and darker environment of at least 4 months, depending on where you live. It’s such a beautiful thing to have these tulips and apple blossoms blooming in their full beauty at the start of March!

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