Forcing Bulbs: Growing Tulips in a Vase

Growing Tulips in a Vase

With spring around the corner, I’ve been thinking about gardening quite a bit. I LOVE flowers, so I thought why not grow flowers myself?

Last fall, I purchased a whole bag of tulip bulbs from Costco for a pretty reasonable price ($10-$15 for 50 bulbs!). However, I have come to realize that I don’t have enough space to plant all 50 tulip bulbs in the yard.

After doing some research (and staring at some photos on Pinterest), I learned that you can grow bulb plants in containers. So here begins my experiment of growing tulips in vases!

What I used:

  • Tulip bulbs
  • Gems (pebbles or river rocks also work)
  • Vase
  • Water

STEP1 Step 1. Place gems in vase—fill up about 1-2 inches, depending on the size of your containerStep2 Step 2. Place bulb on gems. Step3 Step 3. Surround the bulb with more gems for support. Step4Step 4. Fill vase with water until about 1 inch away from the bottom of the bulb.

Step 5. Move the vase to a cool, dark place. The bulbs should be in this environment for 4-6 weeks. This is meant to simulate the dormant, cool period that tulips need in order for the roots to grow well. Then, they can be brought out into the light.

That’s it! As long as everything goes well, you can expect to see some updates on these! I have planted four bulbs this way—two in small mason jars, and two in vases. I’m really hoping this works!

Does anyone else have any experience in forcing bulbs? Any tips?

19 thoughts on “Forcing Bulbs: Growing Tulips in a Vase

    1. I actually didn’t store mine right so the bulbs began to rot! The location I put them in was not dark enough. Next time I’ll have to put them in a really dark place! You should be able to force the bulbs by following my instructions otherwise :)

  1. bought a tulip vase kit and says to chill vase for prolong life how chill the vase??? got tullips in vase dont come out so ???? help lol

    1. Hi Marky,

      I actually just bought a vase kit from Costco that asks to chill the vase to prolong the life as well. I would recommend either putting the vase in the fridge, putting it in a cool place (like a cabinet), or adding an ice cube to the water? I’m not too sure how to go about it but I will probably try the following on my kit.

  2. I had tulips I a vase, now I have tulip bulbs in the vase . The plants died but the bulbs still look good. The roots are still in the water, the bulbs are not. How do I get tulips again or am I out of luck?

    1. Hi deborah, it will probably not happen, you have better luck throwing them away or planting them somewhere in your yard,

      First off, take them out of your base and let them dry, really dry, try to imitate the seasons, tulips need a dry summer followed by a cold winter to flower again, thing with tulips grown on water is that the water won’t have the nutrients for the bulb to get strong again, that happens in the dirt.

      I say toss them or plant them in the yard and hope they flower next year

    2. Forced Tulips only bloom once… that is what I read. I was researching tulips, I was wanting to grow them to use the petals for a dish I was creating. I also was wanting to grow forced tulips for a possible spring table setting.

  3. Tulips need to chill for a few weeks, this is too imitate winter when they developed all the goodies inside for a flower. The best way to “fake” winter is to put them in the fridge for 8 to 12 weeks, far away from fruit, specially apples. The gas they produce affects the bulbs ability to produce a flower.

    The correct step will be to put your bulbs in a mesh bag somewhere in your fridge for 8 to 12 weeks, take them out and follow this blogs instructions. Just to clarify, it’s not the dark what they need the most but a cold environment

  4. What is the best way to preserve bulbs until next planting season? They did beautifully in the vase with water, but now the flowering is over and want to keep bulbs for next year.

    Thanking you in advance for any information.


  5. Hi! You need to ask first if the bulb have had a freeze treatment, most of then have been al ready put in a freez chamber to recreate the dormancy stage and they are ready to grow.

  6. I would like to gratitude for sharing such a great information about plant tulip bulbs. I want to plant tulip in my garden. but I don’t know how to start? Please give me the proper answer for it. Thank you in advance.

  7. It is mid-February in Wisconsin, and I think that the bulbs I just bought may have been chilled already? There are buds peeking out from the top–do I still need to chill them or no? Could I chill them for a smaller period of time? Any help would be great!

  8. I’m so confused…. Can you give me a step by step as to when to buy.. Refrigerate… Plant in containers… And what to do after done in vases???? When to freeze etc… Please include months and how many weeks/ days! Oh THANK YOU. To whoever might feel lead to help my brain get this all!!!

  9. My husband bought me a tulip in a potter for my birthday last year. The flowers lasted just over a week. I thought they were dead and I just left the potter next to the kitchen sink I felt bad to throw it out. After 10 months the potter was moved to the balcony. Now 2 months has passed while it’s outside and the plant has 3 sprouts. I did not water it, although we did have rain. Looks like I will have tulips again for my birthday.

  10. Wonderful idea! I forced lemon seeds to germinate last May. Now I have about 7 Lemon Trees all stuffed into one large clay pot (transplanted twice already). They’re about 4 ft. tall,
    I live in Baltimore (had to bring in during the winter) I never imagined this idea that I was taught when I was young, would work. I took fresh lemon seeds from the store bought lemons (for our ice tea) and submerged them in warm water with dish detergent (this causes the seed to implode). After soaking a few days, buried them an 1/2 inch below surface in potting soil in a clay pot (clay pot is the trick- something to do with the alkaline in the clay helps the plant grow?). Then I covered the clay pot with seran wrap and sealed secured around pot with a rubber band. This creates a hot house type effect. Make sure the soil remains moist may have to put in a few toothpick holes in wrap so they can breath. “Boom” 1 week I had sprouts. Thinking this would never work I buried a bunch of seeds. I was told to always keep them in the clay pot. They’ve been outside all summer on deck. Pollenation and fertilization should push them to grow fruit. Hmm, ya’ never know, but they love this Baltimore heat. I read to mist with water daily too. which works, Who’d have thought!

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