How to Force Hyacinth Bulbs in the Middle of Winter

Learn how to force Hyacinth bulbs in the middle of winter!

What better way to add tranquility to your space than these elegant Hyacinth flowers in the dead of winter?

Today, as I am writing this, we are the coldest place on earth at a harsh -40° C (-50° C with the windchill!) – therefore fresh flowers are a welcome reprieve from the cold and dark.

The gentle fragrance of the Hyacinths fills the room and adds the perfect pastel colours to my kitchen, dining room, and bedroom. I love flowers, and live flowers rather than cut flowers seem so much sweeter!

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So how do you go about forcing these bulbs to flower in the middle of winter?

It will take planning, preparation, and a LOT of patience, but if you are willing to put in the work for the payoff in the end – you’ve come to the right place!

Obviously, the first step is to buy the bulbs; finding high quality bulbs will help give you the best results. You want bulbs that are a bit larger than a golf ball and are nice and firm.

Next, the bulbs need to be chilled in a dry, dark place. If you have a cold pantry, this works well; if not, you can chill them in your refrigerator in one of the drawers (just makes sure you do not have fruit near them as the gasses the fruit puts off are not good for the forcing process).

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Most resources I have seen recommend chilling the bulbs for 12-15 weeks, although I only chilled mine for 10-12 weeks.

Chilled bulbs, ready to start forcing

Once they had been chilled, I started the bulbs in batches every 3-4 weeks so I would have new blossoms forming as the previous ones were drying up. You will know they are ready to start as they will have 1-2 inches of green growth started by this time.

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The very first sign of a blossom forming

I put a layer of decorative stones in a vase, then added the bulbs, then added just enough water to touch the root of the bulb. Too much water touching the bulb will cause it to rot.

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WARNING! The Hyacinth bulbs cause skin irritation, so you should either wear gloves or wash your hands immediately after working with them (do NOT touch your face like I did… I had to find out the hard way that they cause an itchy reaction).

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Blossoms starting to emerge and turn color

Next, I added a few drops of bleach to help kill bacteria that can cause slime and a foul smell – you don’t want pretty smelling flowers in stinky water, right? Adding a little bit of rubbing alcohol at this point also helps keep the flower stems from getting tall and spindly.

Hyacinth blossoms almost at full bloom

Keep your bulbs in a cool, dark room for another 2 weeks. Once you bring them out into the warm part of the house, they will start growing over the next 3-4 weeks. Be sure to add water as needed to keep the water level right at the roots.

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Once they start blooming, you can expect them to last about 3-4 weeks. The blossoms start out as a green cluster of nubs being pushed up through the center of the leaves, slowly turning color and opening as they mature.

The fragrance is amazing! Once they turn color, they start wafting a beautiful scent around them. I added a vase of these glorious flowers to my nightstand and have been so content falling asleep to their soft aroma.

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Forced Hyacinth Blossoms
Hyacinth flowers in full bloom

The next stage is taking care of the bulbs after the flowers have dried up. I trimmed the dead flowers off; right now, my first set of forced bulbs still have beautiful green leaves – even without the flowers they add a refreshing color to the house.

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Now, I will wait for the leaves to die back and turn brown on their own. They still need some water, but cutting back on the amount they are given is supposed to help the bulbs know they need to store the energy required for the next season.

If you found this blog helpful or interesting, don’t forget to subscribe to see future “how-to” blogs for home, garden, and lifestyle!

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The House from 1915

World War I is still waging on. Sir Robert Borden is the Prime Minister. The US reject the proposal for women to have the right to vote…..

The year 1915 – 

World War I is still waging on. Sir Robert Borden is the Prime Minister. The US reject the proposal for women to have the right to vote. The first coast-to-coast long distance phone call in the US, with Alexander Graham Bell. John McCrae writes Flanders Fields. The Rocky Mountain National Park is established. Pluto is photographed for the first time. The Vancouver Millionaires win the Stanley Cup. Babe Ruth’s first career home run. Einstein’s theory of general relativity is formulated. The 1 millionth Ford car is manufactured. Frank Sinatra is born.

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1915 has so many world changing events happening, and yet a family in rural Saskatchewan are in the midst of building their home. Little do they know the years it will age and weather, the many lives lived in it and the history made. If these walls could talk, the stories they would tell! I can only imagine the hard work that building a house in 1915 would be; none of our modern tools like air nailers, table saws, and shop lights.

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Old Farm SiteFast forward almost 100 years – Jake and I had been married just over a year and had been looking at buying our first house. We are both hard working, industrious, and like to think big. None of the houses we looked at in North Battleford were quite what we were looking for, so we kept looking and this once in a lifetime opportunity practically fell into our lap months later – with one day to decide if we would take it!

Now, we had seen this house many a time before as we had farmed land around it. It was abandoned, so we had ventured a peak around and knew what the place looked like.  But the farm land was being sold and as a last minute discovery on our part, the buyers and sellers were both willing to exclude the farm yard and a few acres from their deal to be sold separately, however their papers would be signed in 1 day!

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DSC_0665

Obviously, you can guess what we decided, but it was a lot of discussion and hoping we were making the right call. This place was OLD and had not been well cared for in the last 11-12 years (from the timeline the neighbours have given us). It needed a lot of work. A LOT!

The Ugly – So what shape was it in? The one day we had to make our decision, we decided to take a walk around the acreage and revisit the house, sometime early May with snow still on the ground. I remember all the broken glass on the floors from vandals breaking out the windows. I remember the rain blowing in through where the glass should have been and the floor soaking wet. I remember the pigeons living inside frantically trying to escape the intruders through those empty windows. This poor, old house needed someone who was willing to fix everything!

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And we took it  –  to be continued…
If you have enjoyed the beginning saga of our adventures with the Old House on the Prairie, please subscribe to my blog for the next update on our story!

(Please note: historic information taken from wikipedia and dates for the house are from the best information we have gathered from neighbours and the library)
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