Gardening: Chill out for an early spring bulb display indoors

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TIME: Chill your pots in the dark for 12-20 weeks, depending on the species. If you cut the time short, the plants and flowers may end up stunted and distorted.

7. Inspect the pots regularly for moisture and rotting. Water to keep the potting mix slightly damp but not wet. Remove diseased bulbs. If shoots have started growing (five to eight centimetres / two to three inches), it may be time to move to the next step.

8. Once the chilling period is over, bring the pots out of storage into a cool and bright location, but avoid full sun. It will take two to three weeks for the bulb to send up shoots and flowers. When the buds start showing a bit of colour, move the pots into a warmer and brighter location. But the warmer the location, the shorter their bloom period.

Recommended weeks of chilling

Amaryllis: no chilling required, but may take six to eight weeks to flower after planting.

Crocus: 15 weeks

Daffodils: 15-17 weeks

Hyacinths: 11-14 weeks, although it is possible to purchase pre-chilled bulbs. Just pot these up and wait for the blooms.

Muscari (grape hyacinth): 14-15 weeks

Paperwhites: no chilling required.

Scilla (squill): 12-15 weeks

Tulips: 14-20 weeks

TULIP TIP: Face the flat side of the tulip bulb toward the outside of the pot so the first leaf grows toward the outside for an attractive and tidy look.

TULIP TIP: Remove the brown papery covering (optional).

Erl gardens in Saskatoon and tweets about it on occasion @ErlSv This column is provided courtesy of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society (SPS; Check our website or Facebook page ( All Saskatchewan Perennial Society events are on hold until further notice.

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