My friends Brent and Becky Heath, owners of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Virginia, shared this technique with me during a bulb seminar I attended at their headquarters back in March 2012. It will work for the bulbs that you didn’t get to plant in the ground this fall.

Gather a bunch of 2-gallon pots. Fill with a shallow layer of potting soil. Add 5 tulips or daffodils per pot at the 6” to 8” depth. Cover with potting soil. Label! Set pots on the north side of your house and cover the pots with 6” of wood chips or bark mulch. Let the pots freeze for 8 to 16 weeks. Check on them in March when the snow starts to melt. Gradually pull away from the mulch over a period of a week or two. Put the pots on your doorsteps when the shoots emerge. Sunlight and occasional watering should encourage the bulbs to grow and bloom at the normal time!

For smaller bulbs such as Crocus, Grape Hyacinths or the like, use a shallow, wide “bulb pan” about 6” deep instead of the two-gallon pot. These bulbs should be planted at a depth of twice their size. After bloom, these forced bulbs can be planted in the ground with a bit of bulb fertilizer for next year.

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