inspiring dream gardens, homes, and extraordinary living

Main Line Gardens
376 Paoli Pike, Malvern, PA 19355
Phone: 610-644-2300

Seasonal Tip

Forcing Bulbs
September 21, 2009

Autumn has arrived and we have just begun to enjoy its splendors. Even though winter seems to be so far away, there is something we can do now that will bring color and cheer to us in the heart of the cold winter weather. With a little planning and preparation, we can bring our gardens indoors and start the gardening season early next year through a process called "bulb forcing."

Bulb forcing is not difficult. You just have to improvise a bit to provide the types of conditions that bulbs require in order to flower, but rather than having these conditions provided by nature, you provide them in your home.


  • Any 4-to-6" deep container with drainage holes is suitable for forcing bulbs. You can also force them in a larger flat container and then pot them just before they bloom.
  • Fill your container ¾" full of moist potting soil. Place bulbs on top so the tips are even with the rim of the pot.
  • Fill in around the bulbs with potting soil and water thoroughly. It is ok if the bulb tips become exposed during watering.
  • For a pot that is full and bursting with color, place bulbs shoulder to shoulder until all of the space is filled.
  • Chill the bulbs between 35° F and 50° F for 10 to 16 weeks. To do this, you can use an old refrigerator, unheated garage, or shed. The bulbs will still need to be watered occasionally during this time.
  • At some point during the 10 to 16 week period, pale shoots will emerge. Move them into a cool, dim area until the shoots turn green and then move them indoors. Flowers will soon appear. For extended blooms, remove the pots one at a time. As each new pot begins to send up buds, bring another out of cold storage.
  • After the flowers are spent, continue to water the plant until spring and then plant in the ground. The following year it will sprout and bloom naturally.

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Read about Main Line Gardens acquiring Waterloo Gardens!

Main Line Gardens is a family-owned business that was established in 1981. More than just a full service garden center and nursery for professional landscaping and hardscaping, Main Line Gardens is an architect of beautiful, functional outdoor living spaces that provide a lifetime of enjoyment. The company's first priority and foremost goal is establishing long-term relationships with its customers by offering exceptional service and the highest quality products. This philosophy has defined its success for over 25 years and will continue for decades to follow. Main Line Gardens' experienced and professional staff takes customers all the way from design through installation, involving them every step of the way in the creation of their own outdoor landscaping paradise. Customers can choose from a full selection of plants, trees, shrubs, mulch and stones from the onsite full service nursery.

Please note that Main Line Gardens is not able to honor Waterloo Gardens gift cards/certificates, item exchanges or returns, broken or damaged items, etc. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.