Growing Spring Flowering Bulbs Indoors

This article contains affiliate links for advertisers of this site.

Forcing Spring-Flowering Bulbs Indoors

Here in the Midwest, spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips, crocus, grape hyacinth, and hyacinths are long-awaited after a snowy winter.

I enjoy looking for them in my neighbors’ yards when I am out and about.

Their bright, clear colors are a refreshing sight and encourage me that the warm weather is coming.

However, you can force them to bloom indoors to enjoy a little earlier than when they would naturally bloom.

Grape Hyacinth & Narcissus in Square Pot



Buy Spring Flowering Bulbs in the Fall

Spring flowering bulbs are available to purchase in the fall.

I buy the bulbs for indoor forcing later in the fall because the price is significantly discounted.

I have found that the selection is still good, but if there are specific varieties and colors you prefer, purchase them early in the season for the best selection.

Because I’m not planting the bulbs outdoors, I need to mimic “winter.”

This is necessary for them to flower. to do this, I put the bulbs in a brown paper bag in my refrigerator.

Purple Hyacinth Growing in Pot

I leave them in the retail packaging so that I can identify them when it is time to plant.

Most bulbs need a 12-week cold period, so I mark the bag with the current date and the date 12 weeks in the future that I can begin to plant.

It is important not to store fruit in the refrigerator with bulbs.

Fruit produces ethylene which will damage the flower buds.

How to Plant

Once they have had a sufficient cold period, I plant them in pots using a potting mix that is designed specifically for indoor plants.

Any container will work, but I generally prefer one that is shallow and round with good drainage.

Purchase online or at any garden center.

I plant the bulbs close together and high in the pot so that the top half-inch or so of the bulb is sticking out of the soil.

Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged.

Place it in an area of the home just as you would a houseplant.

The bulbs will begin to develop roots and leaves and flower stalks will emerge.

Anticipate flowers approximately 3-4 weeks after potting.

These make great Valentine’s Day and Easter gifts.

Just make sure that the bulbs have a minimum of 12 weeks of cold treatment and then pot them up about 3 weeks before you want them to be in bloom.

An ad for the Ultimate Indoor Plant Guide


Spring-Flowering Bulbs Grow in Water Too

Another way I love to grow bulbs indoors is by using a specialized vase.

There are vases designed to hold a hyacinth bulb and smaller vases for a crocus corm (bulb).

Use this instead of planting the bulbs in soil after the cold treatment in the refrigerator.

Adding water to the vase to just touch the bulb’s base will initiate root development.

It is fascinating to see how quickly the bulbs respond and send out roots.

Kids also enjoy this as it is a great lesson in botany and helps them develop an appreciation for nature

Spring Flowering Bulbs in glass vase, green plant in wicker pot, 3 white orange candles and picture frame on brown table
A Hyacinth I Forced in Water in a Clear Vase

For me, it is an elegant way to display the flowers and make a unique gift.

I hope you will try forcing bulbs this fall so that you don’t have to wait until spring to enjoy tulips, daffodils, crocus, and all the many spring-blooming bulbs that are so easy to force indoors!

If you would like to plant bulbs outside, click here for tips and planting instructions!

4 thoughts on “Growing Spring Flowering Bulbs Indoors”

  1. After they get thru booming do you refrigerate them again? Or since they have roots do you have to plant them outside to get there next cold spell to keep living?

    • Hi Paula! After they are done blooming, treat them like a houseplant until it’s spring outside (around mid-May in the Midwest U.S.) and then plant them outside. They will bloom in your yard next year! Happy Gardening! -Shannon


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.