How to Force a Narcissus Indoors

Written by cindy hill
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How to Force a Narcissus Indoors
Force narcissus bulbs to bloom indoors for a bit of early spring cheer. (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Narcissus, or daffodils (Narcissus spp.), are cheery harbingers of spring. You can start spring indoors early by forcing narcissus bulbs to bloom indoors. Plan your early spring narcissus blooms the previous fall when bulbs first become available in garden supply stores. Start multiple pots of narcissus bulbs to extend your indoor spring garden, or to give to friends and relatives to brighten their springtime tables, too.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Daffodil bulbs
  • Soil-less potting mix
  • Containers with drainage holes
  • Rain water or other chlorine-free water

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  1. 1

    Purchase large, firm, good-quality narcissus bulbs from garden supply stores in September, when they first arrive in the stores. Choose from among the miniature and multi-flowered varieties like Tete-a-Tete, Little Gem, or Topolino for the most successful forcing.

  2. 2

    Ensure that draining holes in your containers are open, then put enough potting medium into the pot to ensure that the tips of the bulbs are just above the top rim. Set three to five bulbs in a 6-inch pot, or set bulbs about a 1/2 inch apart in larger pots, with their flatter sides down on the potting medium and their more pointed noses sticking upwards. Gently fill in around the bulbs with more potting medium, but leave the bulb tips sticking out.

  3. 3

    Water the potted narcissus bulbs, then place them into storage where the temperatures will remain 4.44 to 10 degrees Celsius for 12 to 16 weeks. Water the pots regularly but keep them in darkness for this cooling period.

  4. 4

    Remove the pots from cold storage and place them in bright light with temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees three to four weeks before the desired bloom time. Continue to water as needed to keep the soil moist, but do not add fertiliser of any kind. Flowers will bloom within a few weeks of removing the pots from storage, depending on the variety. Take a new pot out of cold storage every week or two to ensure a continuous display of blooming narcissus indoors throughout the spring.

Tips and warnings

  • Turn your pots regularly to ensure that the flowers grow straight and don't flop over. You can put the pots under bright artificial lights until they are ready to be put on display.

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