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How to Force a Daffodil to Bloom Indoors


The attractive yellow daffodil is a sign that spring has arrived. This flower is a hardy and easy perennial that grows in many areas of North America except southern Florida. When planted in late fall, right after the first frost, daffodils will bloom in late winter to early spring. The most common daffodils are yellow or white with 6 petals, a trumpet shape central corona (also called the trumpet or cup, depending on its length) and a leafless stem. These stems can bear 1 to 20 flowers over the course of a year and occasionally need to be staked so the flowering heads do not weigh down the stem. Because daffodils are hardy and easy to manipulate, they can be forced to bloom indoors during winter.

Bulbs can be grown in plastic or clay pots. Plastic pots are less expensive, lightweight, easier to clean and do not dry out as quickly as clay pots. Although the bulbs grow equally well in both pots, many people prefer clay because they create a more healthy environment for the plant. Pots should be scrubbed clean before use and clay pots should be soaked for several hours to fill pores before planting.


Planting your Daffodil

  1. Bulbs can be planted anytime between mid-September and late December. The minimum length of cold treatment (see in “Caring for Your Daffodils” below) should be 13 weeks; 15 weeks are preferred.
  2. Broken crockery (broken clay pot) needs to be placed over drainage holes at the bottom of the pot and covered with little sphagnum moss, pebbles or other coarse material before adding potting soil.
  3. A good potting mixture consists of one part garden soil, one part sand, and one part peat moss. Fertilizer should also be added. Suitable potting mixture can be purchased from a florist if you only want to plant a few bulbs.
  4. Start with a 6 to 8 inch pot and fill the pot half way with your potting mixture, place bulbs, then fill the pot the rest of the way. The tip of your bulbs should protrude about ½ inch from the soil, while sitting an inch below the rim of the pot.
  5. Settle the soil well around the bulbs by shaking the pot sharply and lightly pressing on the soil with your fingers. Do not pack hard and do not press the bulbs into the soil. Soil underneath the bulbs should be loose so that the roots can take place quickly.


Caring for your Daffodil

  1. Pots should be placed in a 35-45° F climate (outdoors or in your refrigerator) for a minimum of 13 weeks; 15 weeks preferred. Good root development does not occur below freezing.
  2. Check the soil one to two times a week. The soil should be kept moist through the rooting and cooling period. Water the daffodils when the top inch of the soil begins to feel dry. About 30 minutes after watering, empty the tray beneath the pot so the soil doesn't absorb the water and become soggy.
  3. After 5 to 6 weeks you will see the roots emerge from the bottom of the containers and shoots (stems) will emerge from the bulbs.
  4. After 13 weeks, the bulbs may be placed indoors. Keep in mind, the longer the pots are in cold storage the taller the flowers will be, while a storage time shorter than 13 weeks will result in smaller plants and aborted flowers.
  5. Once placed in the house, plants need to be placed in direct sunlight (6 hours per day) and in an area with a temperature of approximately 60°F.
  6. Over the span of 3 – 4 weeks the plants will begin to bloom.
  7. Once the flowers begin to open take them out of direct sunlight. This will help them last longer.
  8. It is not necessary to fertilize since the bulbs contain most of the plant food.

Creating the healthiest environment for your daffodil is crucial in forcing a bloom indoors. Keep in mind that you can do this by planting the bulb correctly in the most adequate pot, making sure that it receives a cold treatment of the specified degrees for 13 to 15 weeks and then placed in direct sunlight at a room temperature of 60°F. All in all, growing these hardy and easy daffodils is guaranteed to be a rewarding hobby that can be done with your children, significant other, friends or even roommates!

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