Q • I was unable to plant my bulbs this fall and am afraid they all were wasted. Is there anything I can do with them?
A • Bulbs like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths require approximately 12 to 16 weeks of exposure to temperatures below 45 degrees to initiate flowering. If the ground is not frozen and you plant your bulbs quickly, you may still have a chance to get them to flower. However, they may not flower until later in the summer or even the following year, as they will need sufficient time to develop their root systems for growth and flowering.
If there isn’t enough time to put your bulbs in the ground before spring, you can always force your bulbs inside. Repot your bulbs using standard potting soil, with the tip of the bulb sticking out just above the soil line. Lightly moisten the soil and place the jars in the refrigerator at 35 to 45 degrees.
Avoid placing bulbs near ripening fruit, as this releases ethylene gas, which can interfere with the bulb’s flowering process. Check the bulbs every 1 to 2 weeks, watering them just enough to keep them from drying out. After 12 to 16 weeks, the bulb shoots will begin to expand, indicating that they can be taken out of the refrigerator. Place them in a warm, sunny place, either planted in the ground, grouped together in large containers, or eat them in the pots they have been forced into.