Plants – Bargains in the Clearance Aisle

Christmas Red Tulips/Longwood Gardens Conservatory-Friday Foto Friends

What is that oddball bag lying beside my carrots in the vegetable bin of my refrigerator?

What looks like small onions or shallots is really a bag of Spring-Flowering bulbs, leftovers from my Autumn plantings.

While you’re looking for Christmas trees and poinsettias in big box stores or garden nurseries, take a moment to check if there are any leftover Autumn bulbs on clearance. Often a business will slash prices of out of season plants to the point of almost giving them away. I mimic frosty cold by storing unplanted bulbs as the Gardening-Know-How site suggests:

The highest chilling temperature is around 40 degrees F. (4 C.), so chilling bulbs in the refrigerator is ideal. Just be sure not to store them near any fruit, as the released ethylene gas reduces bloom. Store the bulbs in the refrigerator in a ventilated mesh bag.
~ Gardening Know How/How to Chill Flowering Bulbs

The article has many fine tips on how to select, chill and plant the bulbs in Spring. I have about three months to come up with good ideas for forcing these beauties. The bright flowers and colors will certainly be an antidote for the doleful greys of late-winter skies.

The glorious red tulips are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Goodbye November!

Planting & Problem-Solving – Tulip Bulbs/Update

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On February 20th, I shared a post on how my grandsons and I placed pre-chilled tulip bulbs in a vase of pebbles and water in an attempt to bring them into bloom.

You can read the post here: Planting/Tulip Bulbs

We are watching their progress now. The bulbs have sprouted at different rates, some leafing out quickly, others plodding along, but all are showing signs of growth. A few days ago I noticed a problem that needed solving if I hoped to continue bringing the tulips into flower, yucky green mold thriving on a bulb where it touched the side of the vase.


I decided to give my trusty bottle of alcohol a try. Alcohol, safe and pure, is usually my first go-to solution for houseplant or gardening problems.

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A few swipes of the alcohol and “Voila,” goodbye pesky green mold.

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I realized another solution was keeping the bare portion of the bulbs away from the side of the vase and let the skin side protect the bulb from another bout of mold. I’m looking forward to showing my grandsons the progress of their tulips this week. Happy Gardening!

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Plants – Forcing Hyacinth Bulbs


Forcing bulbs: “Forcing is a technique that imitates the environmental conditions that bulbs encounter outdoors, thereby tricking them into flowering earlier.” Beginner’s Guide to Forcing Bulbs

Another way to enjoy Spring bulbs is to force Hyacinths. The same protocol applies to these bulbs, place them in a cold place for at least twelve weeks before forcing. I bring my Hyacinth bulbs into bloom by using a special vase, named quite appropriately, a Hyacinth Vase.


In my experience, the plant usually becomes top-heavy if I allow it to continue growing in water. When the beautiful blooms open their bulk causes the bulb to topple out of the vase. To counteract this problem I have begun planting the bulb in dirt when it nears bloom time. This has worked very well for me. Happy Gardening!

In-depth directions on forcing bulbs can be found here: Forcing Spring Bulbs

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Planting – Tulip Bulbs


I purchased tulip, daffodil and hyacinth bulbs in the Autumn months, when they were placed on clearance. My grandsons and I planted the daffodils in pots of dirt and placed them in the refrigerator. Later, when winter arrived, they were moved into the garage. These flowers are now growing and are near blooming. This week we turned our attention to the tulip bulbs. Put to bed for three months in the refrigerator, with only a plain brown lunch bag for protection, the bulbs had already begun sprouting when we released them from their cold confinement.


I had come across a beautiful picture on Pinterest of tulip bulbs growing in a glass container. I thought we could create a version of our own. Into a tall glass vase, we placed some glass pebbles, added the bulbs, and poured in enough water to barely cover the bottom of the tulips. This is where the roots will form. We will need to keep a daily watch so the water level does not fall too low.


I’ll post an update on the tulips as they grow. Happy gardening!


Plants and Plans – Bargain Bulbs

This has been my week for bargains. I stopped in a local box store Friday and found bins of bulbs that had not sold. They were almost giving them away at 75 percent off. I bought several packs to force in the Spring.

FORCING THE BULBS is not difficult. There are several ways to do this. The bulbs can be shallowly planted and kept outdoors in a cold frame. Another way is to plant and keep the bulbs in the back of the fridge. I have had success with this in the past. This year I am hoping to force some of the tulips in this way.

FORCING BULBS IN WATER is another way to bring them into bloom. I have success with this technique using hyacinth bulbs. I have never tried with tulips, but this year will give it a go. I’ll update this post in the Spring.

My bulbs in brown lunch bags getting a shot of cold air in the crisper bin of my refridgerator.