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Creative Ways to Bring Spring-Flowering Bulbs Indoors

Do you have bulb-phobia – a fear of planting spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips? It takes a lot of courage to bury those little brown packages in the ground and trust that they will emerge and bloom next spring. But really, bulbs are some of the easiest plants to grow.

Leap past your reluctance to plant bulbs with one of these creative projects that bring the beauty of bulbs indoors.

Bulb Forcing Basics

Spring-flowering bulbs need to spend a certain amount of time in the cold. For a quick turn around purchase bulbs that have been "pre-chilled." These bulbs have already gone through the necessary cooling period so they are ready to pot up and start growing.

If you can't find those, just plant the bulbs in pots and store them for 8 to 12 weeks in a cold frame, outdoor shed, garage, or other dark area with temperatures from 35 to 45°F. It's important that you don't expose bulbs to freezing temperatures. Once the bulbs have been pre-cooled, you can force them into bloom.

Once you see the leaves emerging from the soil move the pots to an intermediate area that has low light and slightly warmer temperatures. Over the next three to four days, gradually move your plants to a sunny window.

When the flowers appear, keep them in bright, indirect light. Temperatures of 60°F to 65°F will ensure longest flowering. Turn the pots a bit each day so that the flowers do not lean to one side as they reach for the sun.

Bulbs that have been planted in soil and brought indoors can be transplanted to the garden in spring. Paperwhites and hyacinths that are forced in water should be discarded.