image showing indoor bulbs

Indoor bulbs – how to force spring bulbs to flower in winter

Posted 22nd Sep 2019 by Nick

 Indoor Bulbs

September , 2018

October is the time to start potting spring flowering indoor bulbs to flower in winter. Crocus, hyacinth, daffodils, tulips,  scillas, muscari  and paperwhites can all be forced into flower by late winter early spring. Here is what you need to know…


Firstly pot the bulbs in clean, sterile pots using either bulb fibre, or if pots have drainage holes, multi purpose compost . Plant the bulbs close together in the pot and expose the nose of the bulb. We usually plant 6 tulips, 3 hyacinths, 6 daffodils, 15 crocus / scillas into a 6” (15cm) pot. Allow a gap at the top of the pot for water. Water well.

Cold Treatment

Bulbs must be given cold treatment for 10 – 12 weeks to allow roots to grow. This can either be in a cool garage, shed, fridge or cellar. The pots should be covered with black plastic with a few holes so the bulbs can breathe . Check regularly and water if dry. Paperwhites need only 2-3 weeks of cold dark treatment. For continuous blooms prepare new pots every few days.


When shoots start to appear, wait until 2” (5cm) high, move out of the cold and dark and into a cool room with some light. Water thoroughly.  Once you notice new growth you can move to a warmer and sunnier place in the house.


When bulbs have finished flowering move outside and wait until leaves have turned yellow. You can then plant in your garden. Generally because the bulbs have been forced they will not flower well the next year but give them another year and they should have regained their vigour.

Flowering Varieties

Over the years we have tried many many bulbs in pots and the list below is a selection of our most successful:

Crocus – all of the large headed dutch crocus.  Pickwick (striped), yellow, white, blue and purple

Hyacinth – only one colour in a pot. Blue, white, redyellow, pink and orange


Ice Follies, Barrett Browning ,Mount Hood ,Carlton  (larger varieties)

February Gold , Tete a Tete , Thalia (scented)      (smaller varieties)


Apricot Beauty, Negrita, Shirley and White Marvel  (larger varieties)

Hearts Delight , Pinnochio, Johann Strauss  and Red Riding Hood  (smaller varieties)

ScillasScilla Siberica

MuscariMuscari Armeniacum (Grape Hyacinth), Latifolium and Botryoides (pure white)


All of the above are available on the website. Get in touch (e-mail, phone or Facebook) if you have any questions!

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