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Bulbs forced to bloom indoors require special care for replanting in your garden

Media contact:

Robert E. Thomas
Information Specialist
University of Missouri Cooperative Media Group
Phone: 573-882-2480
Email: thomasr@missouri.edu

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008

Story source:

Mary Kroening, 573-882-9633

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Bulbs forced to bloom indoors during winter months need special care for replanting in your garden, said a Missouri horticulturist.

"Outdoor planting of forced bulbs after they have faded is never a sure thing," said Mary Kroening, an MU Extension horticulture specialist. "Forced bulbs that have bloomed indoors have been through an exhausting process and may not re-bloom in your garden."

However, some bulbs, such amaryllis, will repeat annually for many years of blossoms with minimal care, Kroening said.

After the amaryllis bulbs have bloomed, cut the flowers to prevent seeds from forming. Place the plant in a sunny, warm location and treat it as a houseplant, she said.

Once the danger of frost has passed, move the potted plant outdoors to a garden location that receives minimal sunlight.

Fertilize the plant monthly throughout the summer months to build up nutrients needed for blooming.

Bring the plant indoors before the first frost. Let the foliage dry out by withholding water and storing in a cool, dark location.

Once the foliage has dried completely, the bulb should be kept dormant for eight weeks before it will re-bloom.

If the bulb gets too large for its pot, repot it into a larger container. If you don't repot, top dress with fresh potting soil.

If plantlets develop alongside the original bulb, separate these and repot the plantlets. They will bloom alongside the original bulb.

Other bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinth and crocus also can be planted outdoors after indoor blooms have faded.

Daffodils and crocus typically do well naturalizing into the garden after blooming indoors, Kroening said. Tulips, however, do not readily come back even when originally planted in the garden. Hyacinths may come back in the garden, but they usually won't be as robust in subsequent years.