Chilled to the Bulb
October 21st, 2005
Force your Bulbs Today
To fool hyacinths, tulips and crocuses into thinking they’ve had a cold winter, put the bulbs in the lettuce drawer of your refrigerator (in a brown paper bag, not plastic–it rots them) for 6-8 weeks prior to planting. If your lettuce drawer takes delight, as some do, in regularly freezing lettuce, it’s too cold for bulbs; store them on a low back shelf. They must not freeze.
This prechilling really does very little to make the bulb sprout. What it does do is allow the flower stem to better elongate providing a longer, stronger and more spectacular bloom.
Also beware of fresh fruits that give off ethylene gas, including apples, bananas and pineapples. When these are stored in the same refrigerator with bulbs, make sure they’re in airtight bags or containers; if the gas escapes, it can cause flower bulbs to either rot or grow roots and sprout.
After you remove the bulbs from refrigeration, plant them in the ground immediately.