XP -- Advice on bulbs ... any gardeners that can help?

Hi, ladies.  I have a gardening question re: bulbs and I'm hoping someone can help!

Our wedding will be in April of next year (2013), and I love, love, love fresh flowers.  In working with our (tight) budget, a lot of the flowers for the decorations will be potted instead of cut / arranged -- we hit a Walmart sale on bulbs and will get some flats of pansies as soon as they hit the stores (we'll pot them individually and use them in baskets with florist moss for the reception).  FI and I spent the afternoon clearing out my three biggest container-gardening pots and planting tulip bulbs that (hopefully!) will provide decor for our outdoor ceremony.  They are "mid bloom"-ers, so they should be blooming right around the end of April when we need them.

I have two more packages of bulbs that I would very much like to use, but they are "early bloom"-ers (grape hyacinths and paperwhite narcissus).  I'm wondering whether there is a way to tweak when they bloom?  Around here, they're usually up and blooming in March if left to their own devices.

I've found some internet resources on forcing them to bloom early, but hoping there's something I/we can do to delay blooming until closer to the wedding date?  They'll be in pots, and therefore mobile, if I need to stick them in the back of a closet away from sunlight or something like that, lol.

Thank you for any help you can offer!

Re: XP -- Advice on bulbs ... any gardeners that can help?

  • Google Forcing bulbs.   If memory serves, keep them in a dark paper bag until you want them to start to grow, then give them lots of light.  Paperwhites are easy to force, I force some each fall for Christmas presents.
  • I grow lots of bulbs on my flower farm.  Do not put your bulbs in a paper bag.  They need to be kept frozen!  Narcissus and grape hyacinths should be potted as soon as possible and then put in a cooler( or if it's cold enough, outside)   at below freezing temps.  Grape hyacinths should be taken out of cold storage and brought into a 60-65 degree well lit room 30-40 days before you need them.  The number of days paper whites will need is between 15 and 20. You should plant double the number of pots you need and then take a few pots at a time out of cold storage.  This way you will have flowers blooming for your wedding.
  • Thank you, Kate!  Silly question, but should the bulbs be planted before being frozen or can I stick the bulbs in the freezer?  And how cold does it need to be?  Literally below freezing, or is a 30's to 40's range OK?
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