After a week in Florida, soaking up the sun and admiring the hibiscus and tropical plants, I was a little bummed to return to Minnesota brown — which is what this winter has been, despite more predictions for snow next week.
But I could not be glum for long, because there on my kitchen shelf was the first bloom of the season — a gorgeous orange tulip that I had forced in water. I planted several of these bulbs in a container to use outdoors later in the spring, but not all the bulbs fit, so I put this one in a glass vase on top of some glass beads I had left over from a craft project. I wasn’t sure it would bloom, but pretty soon there was a hairy clump of roots growing into the water and a nice green shoot coming up. I had been changing the water every day or two before I left for Florida and asked my husband (not usually a plant guy) to continue the routine while I was gone.
Over six days, the stem grew about twice its previous length and produced a lovely bloom. Just the thing to perk up a weary traveler!
If you are interested in forcing bulbs in soil or water, check out these instructions from the University of Minnesota. I did not put my vase in a cool, dark place for four weeks as instructed, but the bulb had sat in its packaging in the garage for a couple of months before I put it in water.