By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
While most people know how to plant a flower bulb in the garden, they may not know how to plant a winter-forced bulb or even a bulb plant gift outdoors. However, by following a few simple steps, and with a little luck, doing this with your bulb plant gift can be a successful one.
Can You Plant Forced Flowering Bulb Container Plants Outside?
Many people enjoy forcing flowering bulb container plants in the winter. Container plants that have been previously forced into bloom cannot be forced again; however, you can plant bulbs in the garden. If you plan to replant these forced bulbs outdoors, sprinkle a small amount of bulb boosting fertilizer on top of the soil, as most will not flower well again without some help. The bulbs use up a lot of their energy during the forcing process; therefore, the flowering bulb container plants’ blooms may not be as prolific as others.
Tulips, in particular, do not come back well after being forced. However, a hyacinth plant bulb and a daffodil plant bulb will generally continue to put out blooms, as well as some of the smaller bulbs, like crocus and snowdrops.
Plant bulbs in the spring once foliage has died down, just the same as how to plant a flower bulb that was not forced. Keep in mind that while some forced bulbs may flower again, there are no guarantees. It could also take a year or two before they return to their blooming normal cycle.
How to Plant a Flower Bulb Plant Gift in the Garden
If you’ve received a bulb plant gift, you may want to consider replanting it in the garden. Allow the foliage to die down naturally before removing any foliage. Then, let all flowering bulb container plants dry out as they prepare for dormancy.
After that, for winter bulb storage, keep them in the soil (in their container) and store in a cool, dry location (such as a garage) until the onset of spring, at which time you can plant bulbs outdoors. If you see roots emerging from the drainage holes or shoots appearing from the top of the bulbs, this is an indication that the plant bulb gift is ready to come out of storage.
Whether it’s a bulb plant gift or a winter-forced flowering bulb, container plants can also serve as suitable environments for winter bulb storage.