Q:

How do you care for indoor potted tulips?

A:

Quick Answer

Caring for indoor potted tulips involves keeping them watered and in a cool place while blooming and forcing them to continue to grow by chilling them. Forcing a bulb means creating an environment in which the plant continues to grow out of season.

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Full Answer

When the tulips are blooming, keep them watered, but do not saturate the soil. Keep them in a bright room no warmer than 60 degrees. Tulips grow better in a clay pot, as the clay dries out faster than other pot types.

To force bulbs to start sprouting and blooming, they must be chilled in a simulation of winter conditions. Place them in a dark place in which the temperature goes no lower than 32 degrees and no higher than 50 degrees. If there is insufficient room for potted bulbs, the bulbs may be placed in a paper bag. If tulips are stored in a refrigerator drawer, do not place them with fruit, because fruit emits a gas that hampers the bulbs from growing. The bulbs must chill for eight to 16 weeks; check them after eight weeks and look for roots.

Next, place the potted bulbs in a 55-degree dark environment for one month, then move them to a 65-degree area that has bright sunlight. When the shoots grow to about 2 inches, the bulbs can be moved to a warmer area. Indirect light is best.

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