Nick Federoff's Blog
If you saw me on TV or viewed the on-line version of my TV segment on CBS|KCAL 9 News (click here to watch it again) then you know we talked about forcing bulbs to flower for the holidays. I wish we had more time on TV to explain it all but we do the best we could. The following hopefully covers the things we couldn't get to.
Forcing narcissus bulbs to grow and bloom outside their natural growing conditions sounds kind of mean. So is paying too much gas – but, we do it anyway.
Bulbs have a mystery surrounding them that need not be. They are quite easy to grow and if you do goof up, it’s not the end of the world as you have to remember we are tricking them. They’ll most likely respond when they want to instead of when we want them to. That notwithstanding – let’s get to work.
Today we are growing narcissus. You want to start off with a shallow container about 3” deep and small rocks. That’s right, rocks – we are not going to grow them in soil. The smaller the rock the better as large rocks offer too much air space. I like using decorative aquarium rock. It makes a nice contrast between the green of the leave and the color of the flower. But, this is America – do what you want to do.
Place one-half to one inch of rocks on the bottom of the container. Place the narcissus bulbs on top of the rocks in a circle. The pointy part of the bulb is the top and it should face inwards. Place bulbs inside the circle, too.
It’s time to fill the container up with more rocks. You don’t have to cover them up all the way. If some of the tips are showing that’s O.K.
Watering is so important as you don’t want to water so much that the bulbs are suffocated. Only water to just above the bottom of the bulb. I like spiking my water with SUPERthrive as it tickles the new forming roots to grow stronger adding vitamins and hormones. If you want to stunt the growth of the greens add a capful of isopropyl alcohol to a gallon of water when watering.
It’s time to give the bulbs the cold treatment. For a few weeks before bringing them in place the bulbs in a cool area in a patio where temperatures range from 35 to 55
degrees – and we are talking Fahrenheit here. The plants will start to root during this time. You can leave them there 4 weeks and up to 13 weeks then you’ll have to move the plants in a well-lighted area in the home where it get 60-65 degrees. It’ll take some 3 weeks for them to flower.