Bulbous plants are one of the most "flexible" in terms of flowering. By controlling their periods of rest, you can get colorful live bouquets at any time of the year. They will be a great gift and will transform the interior even in the midst of a dull winter. Of course, you can buy tulips, hyacinths, snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils already blooming, because by the holidays they are full on store shelves. But you can grow your favorite spring flowers in the apartment yourself. Forcing bulbs is a fascinating and not at all complicated process. To admire the flowering of spring bulbs in winter, you need only one thing - patience.Dates and rules for forcing bulbs.
What is bulb distillation?
"Forced" blooming of bulbs, or easier - forcing - the process of stimulating flowering in atypical periods for the plant, thanks to the management of periods of dormancy and active development. In fact, there is nothing surprising in distillation. Just the dormant period and the entire natural cycle - from rooting to the growth of the peduncle and leaves - are displaced.
Any bulbous plant can be “distilled”:
- bulbous irises, etc.
Through distillation, you can get acquainted with bulb exotics and novelty varieties, experiment and evaluate plants with unknown characteristics, in order to later decide whether they are needed in the garden.
For distillation, it is better to choose low, early or at least medium grades. The simpler the structure of the flower, the better.
Distillation of all types of bulb plants and for any flowering period - New Year holidays, March 8th or special family dates - occurs according to the same principles and rules. The only difference is that the start dates of the distillation process are calculated individually.
Bulbous can be thrown out in three ways - hydroponically, in water, or in the usual way in soil.Forcing bulbs is the process of stimulating their flowering at atypical times
Bulb expiration dates
Atypical flowering can be achieved if the bulb is kept first in the cold, and then stimulate the growth of greenery and peduncles. Any distillation consists of two stages:
- 10 to 16 weeks in cold and dark (tulips can withstand from 11 to 22 weeks, hyacinths and pushnitsia - 10-14 weeks, scylls - 8-11 weeks, crocuses - 15-16 weeks, sprouts and chionodoxes - from 8 to 10 weeks, snowdrops - up to 18 weeks, muscari - about 13-15 weeks, daffodils - 13-15 weeks). On sale in autumn you can find special bulbs for distillation, which have already passed the cooling stage and need only landing. When distilled in water, cooling is reduced to 2-3 weeks.
- 2 to 5 weeks warm and warm, from the beginning of the growing season to the opening of the first buds (1-2 weeks for hyacinths, muscari, snowdrops, 2-3 weeks for daffodils, 3-4 weeks for tulips).
To calculate the timing you just need to count from the estimated (desired) day of flowering the number of weeks of vegetation and cooling. Most often, distillation begins in late September-October.
From 10 to 16 weeks in cold and dark - the first stage of bulb distillation.
Read also our article Tulip forging.
Selection of bulbs for distillation
For distillation, only selective planting material is used - large, quite weighty, completely healthy bulbs of the "extra" class without the slightest trace of lesions. Tulips with a diameter of about 4 cm and a weight of about 30 g, hyacinths with a diameter of 5 cm and a weight of at least 60 g, large bulbs of daffodils from 4 cm in diameter, as well as muscari, scyllis, snowdrops, chionodoxes, and sprouts with a diameter of at least 2 cm are suitable.
Immediately before planting, the bulbs are carefully inspected, removing the dry covering flakes. Processing in a weak solution of potassium permanganate or fungicide will not harm any onion, but it will serve as the best preventive measure.
Read also our article Spring onion flowers on balconies and loggias.
Capacities, tools and materials for the onion distillation
Distillation of plants can be carried out in different containers and decorative containers. Standard is small pots with numerous drainage holes. But you can use drawers, wicker baskets, ceramic pots, bags, cut-off bottles and even dishes.
Any kind of shallow and wide containers with a height 3-4 times the height of the bulbs will do. Tanks can always be simply additionally decorated or put into external containers more charged.
Non-waterproof or poorly holding substrate baskets are lined with insulating film or mesh to hold the soil. And containers without holes need a higher layer of drainage or distillation in water. For the first "test" it is better to purchase special pots, and then go into experiments.
In addition to the containers themselves, for distillation, you will also need:
- a special substrate for bulbs or universal soil, to which inert disintegrating materials were added - perlite, vermiculite, coarse coconut substrate, fine expanded clay, coarse sand (from a third to half of the earth mix);
- materials for drainage (expanded clay or gravel).
Planting bulbs for distillation
Bulb planting can be done before or after the cooling period, simply keeping the bulbs in paper bags. In both cases, there is nothing complicated in the process of planting in the soil - in many respects it resembles the usual planting in containers:
- At the bottom of the tank lay a high layer of drainage.
- The containers are filled with a substrate without compaction to a height of about 6-8 cm (for tulips - 2/3 of the height).
- Bulbs are planted in pots, adhering to the general rules of planting - placing them strictly vertically, with the bottom down, so that 1-2 cm of space is left between the bulbs and the walls of the pot. So that the first leaves grow outward, the bulbs are inspected and the flat side is turned to the walls of the pot.
- The bulbs are carefully covered with a substrate - for small onions so that a layer about 2.5 cm high is formed on top, for hyacinths and daffodils - leaving the tops 2 cm "bare". Mulching on 1 cm with sand or peat is desirable.
- Landing is completed by light watering.
- The containers must be placed under the cap - tightened with a dark film, a cloth or put on a lightproof bag, put in a box or covered with another pot, making holes for air access.
When forcing in water, the bulbs are placed in special flasks or transparent vases so that they are reliably stuck in the neck and maintain the water level 1-2 mm below the bottom, preventing the water from touching the plants.
When inert soils are used, the bulbs are placed on a high layer of gravel, vermiculite or expanded clay, sprinkling gaps from above after placement and leaving “tops”.
The process of planting bulbs in the soil for distillation in many ways resembles the usual planting in containers.
Read also our article. What to do if bulbs or tubers sprouted?
At the stage of cold dormancy, the bulbs in bags or containers should be immediately moved to a dark place. They are kept in complete shadow until the shoots are stretched to at least 2.5 cm. Removal after the appearance of strong shoots in an diffusely soft, shady place stimulates the process of active growth (you can simply shade the plants with paper caps).
You should not hurry with bright light: freshly peeled bulbs exposed too early in the sun may not bloom at all. After 3-5 days, the onion "translate" to the main content mode - the most bright diffused light. Artificial illumination in winter allows you to extend daylight hours and compensate for any weather quirks.
For the uniform development of plants, it is worth regularly turning containers in relation to the light source.
For the first stage of distillation, an ideal temperature is considered to be from 4-5 degrees for daffodil, tulips and scylla to 9 degrees of heat for hyacinths, snowdrops, crocuses and muscari. Average temperatures of 4 to 9 degrees are good for any bulb. In the second half of exposure in cold weather, it is always better to lower the temperature by a few degrees.
It is convenient to carry out cooling in the refrigerator (in the section for vegetables), in the cellars, hallways, on the veranda, unheated frost-free balcony or loggia.
Plants are transferred to normal room temperatures when they are brought into the world, but a strong increase is undesirable here: at first it is better to maintain an “average” temperature of 10 to 16 degrees Celsius, and only then transfer the bulb to room temperatures.
Longer and more beautifully bloom those bulbs that are cool (no higher than 23 degrees). Daytime temperature from 16 to 18 is ideal, but it is better to lower the night temperature to 10-15 degrees. If you can’t keep the pots cool all day, the bulbous bulbs can be refrigerated at least for the night. Distillation plants must be protected from drafts at all stages of development.
Longer and more beautifully bloom those bulb on distillation, which are kept cool (no higher than 23 degrees).
Read also our material of the 7 best winter-flowering indoor plants.
Onion care after distillation and after
During the entire dark-cold stage of their maintenance, the bulbous plants almost do not need watering (only when the soil is completely dry), but they prefer high humidity.
Bulb irrigation for distillation resumes slowly, smoothly, after being brought into the light. Plants are first watered with a small amount of water. Watering is increased to abundant, allowing the top layer of soil to dry in tanks with medium constant humidity, only when active growth begins. “Interruptions” in watering and dampness are equally dangerous. You need to water the plants gently, without soaking the leaves, buds and shoots.
The increased humidity in bulbs preparing for flowering is not needed, but extremely dry air is also unacceptable.
After distillation in water, the bulbs should be discarded; when distilled in the soil, they can be saved for the garden. The flower stalk is cut off immediately after the onset of wilting, gradually limiting watering and waiting for the leaves to completely yellow without intervention. The bulb that has gone to rest can be removed from the substrate, dried, peeled and planted in the garden in the usual time for this species.