Botanical Name: Tulipa hybrids
By growing tulips indoors, you'll bring a bright bouquet of fresh flowers to your home in the middle of winter.
Forcing tulip bulbs is not quite as easy to do as some of the other flowering bulbs, but it's well worth the effort. Imagine the colorful, cheery flowers you'll enjoy long before spring arrives. The best time to plant tulips for mid-winter blooms is early October.
You have a gold mine of spectacular varieties to choose from -- in every color imaginable. Take your pick...many with double colors, double blooms, or frilly petals.
For growing tulips indoors, you can force any type of tulip bulb into bloom. However, some get pretty tall and will have to be staked to prevent them from falling over. T. batalinii and T. humilis are a couple tulip species that stay shorter, reaching only 6 in (15 cm) high.
Triumph tulips are among the most prized because of their big blooms, traditional tulip shape, and variety of colors available. Triumph tulips are also among the easiest to force into bloom indoors.
Planting tip: Because each tulip variety tends to bloom at a different time, it's best not to mix them. You'll enjoy a mass of beautiful blooms by planting one tulip bulb variety per pot.
Before growing, tulips need a cold treatment for 10-12 weeks. If you bought pre-chilled bulbs, you can skip this step.
When in full bloom, keep potted tulips in a bright location out of direct sun. Keep as cool as possible to prolong the bloom time.
Height: 12-24 in (30-60 cm), depending on variety. Some species only reach 6 in (15 cm) tall.
Light: Bright indirect light. Rotate the pot once in a while because growing tulips will tend to lean toward the light source.
Water: Keep soil lightly moist. Growing tulips are thirsty, so it's a good idea to check the soil often.
Humidity: Average room humidity.
Temperature: Cool 60°F/16°C
Soil: Any good potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Tulip bulbs cannot be forced a second time indoors. They do produce offsets, but they can take a few years to mature. If you want to keep them, allow the foliage to die back naturally, storing tulip bulbs in a cool, dry place. Plant the bulbs in your flower garden in the fall and let Mother Nature take care of them.
Make your tulips last longer by keeping them in a slightly cooler location. Blooms will last for weeks if kept at a maximum of 60°F/16°C.
Buy the biggest and best tulip bulbs you can find from a reputable company. After waiting for months for these beauties to bloom, you don't want to be disappointed. For sure success, buy varieties that are labeled "good for forcing."
There are several varieties available that are especially dependable for forcing. I recommend the early-flowering types. You can choose single or double blooms, plain or striped.
Some tulips with single blooms include 'Apricot Beauty'... radiant 'Red Riding Hood'... and petite, yellow-and-red 'Guiseppe Verdi' that only reaches 6-12 in (15-30 cm) tall.
Double-flower varieties include peachy-pink 'Peach Blossom'... snowy-white 'Schoonoord'... and 'Orange Nassau' has orange-yellow blooms with a blush of red.
With an almost endless range of tulip colors to choose from, you may want more than one type.