A Comparison of Two Methods of Producing Flowers from Spring Bulbs

There are two major different methods in producing flowers from spring bulbs. One is the traditional method, planting them in the ground and allowing them to bloom in May, or late April. The second method is called “forcing” and is used to trick spring bulbs into blooming months earlier than normal. The rest of this essay will compare and contrast the two different methods.

Planting bulbs in the ground is a method widely used by people who want to easily add beauty to their landscape / flower garden. Landscaping with bulbs is done in the fall, so the bulbs can have time to grow roots in the winter. When purchasing bulbs it is important to find a reliable store that knows how to properly protect and care for bulbs. If you find a reliable store, there is a smaller chance that the bulbs will be damaged. If possible, check the bulbs in the store to see if they have any visible defects.

Before you start planting, decide where you want to place the bulbs, if they are randomly scattered, they may not grow properly. Once you have decided where you want to plant the bulbs, dig a hole about 4-10 inches deep (you should consult the planting instructions that are commonly packaged with the bulbs). Set the bulbs POINTED END UP into the soil, then gently cover the bulbs with soil. If the soil is dry, be sure to water the soil so the bulbs can get a good drink before the long winter.

The steps for purchasing spring bulbs are the same, always check for defects before you buy. Planting, however, cannot be anymore different. When you force bulbs, you are tricking them into blooming early, to accomplish this you must simulate a false winter. First, plant the bulbs pointed end up in a pot filled two thirds of the way with soil, make sure you know ahead of time how you want the bulbs arranged. Then cover the bulbs with more dirt so that the tips of the bulbs are only a few millimeters above the soil. Next, simulate a false winter, this is done by placing planted bulbs in a refrigerator for a few weeks. During this period, the bulbs will think that they are in winter, and will start to form roots. After a few weeks, remove you remove the bulbs from the refrigerator, and let them “thaw”. Once the bulbs warm up they will think it’s spring, and bloom.

Both methods result in flowers, and both methods require some work, to produce these flowers. Both methods also are started at the same time. But there are more differences than there are similarities.

In landscaping, bulbs are planted deep in the ground, in forcing, bulbs are planted only a few inches under the soil. When you plant bulbs outside, they won’t bloom until late April or early may, if the bulbs are forced, they can bloom much earlier. For landscaping bulbs are used to beautify a building, or an area, usually forced bulbs are sold by stores to benefit from holidays early in the year.

Both forcing, and landscaping, are highly popular methods for cultivating bulbs. Some have their benefits, and some have their drawbacks. Forcing, for example, can only be done once, after that, the bulbs have to be planted in the ground, outside. Landscaping bulbs can be used year after year. No matter which method you use, however, the bulbs will result in flowers, that are sure to impress.

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