How to successfully force daffodil bulbs to bloom indoors: a step-by-step guide


For gardeners who can’t wait for spring, forcing daffodil bulbs indoors is a great way to enjoy these gorgeous flowers ahead of time. By providing the right conditions and care, you can make your daffodil bulbs bloom and brighten up your home during the winter months.

Before you begin, it’s important to understand that daffodils need a period of chilling in order to bloom. The bulbs should be stored at a temperature between 35°F and 45°F (1.6°C and 7.2°C) for about three to four months before they are ready for forcing. This cold treatment ensures that the bulbs receive the necessary moisture and nutrients and triggers the growth process.

Once the chilling period is over, you can plant the daffodil bulbs in pots or containers. Use a high-quality potting soil and place the bulbs with the pointed end facing up. Ensure that the bulbs are close together but not touching each other. Water the bulbs well and keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Next, provide your daffodils with enough light to help them grow and blossom. Place the pots near a sunny window where they can receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If natural light is not sufficient, you can supplement it with artificial light, such as fluorescent bulbs.

As the daffodils begin to grow, you may notice their green tops emerge from the soil. This is a sign that they are actively growing and on their way to bloom. Take extra care during this time by watering them regularly and ensuring that they are not exposed to extreme cold or heat.

In order to force the daffodils to bloom, you can adjust the temperature in the room where they are kept. Maintain a temperature between 55°F and 65°F (12.8°C and 18.3°C) to encourage flowering. Additionally, you can cover the pots with plastic to create a mini greenhouse effect and retain moisture, which will help the bulbs develop and bloom.

It’s important to note that once the daffodils have finished blooming, you can replant them outdoors. However, it is recommended to allow the leaves to wither and turn yellow before doing so. This will ensure that the bulbs have stored enough energy for the next flowering season.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the beauty and fragrance of daffodils indoors, even during the cold winter months. With a little care and attention, you can successfully force these spring-flowering bulbs and brighten up your home with their vibrant blooms.

Winter Storage of Unplanted Daffodil Bulbs

If you have daffodil bulbs that you haven’t planted in your garden yet, it’s important to store them properly during the winter months to ensure their health and successful growth once planted. Storing unplanted daffodil bulbs is a simple process that can be done with just a few easy steps:

  1. Harvesting: If you have daffodils in your garden and want to store the bulbs for next year, make sure to wait until the foliage has withered. This is usually a few weeks after the daffodil blooms have faded. Gently lift the bulbs out of the ground, making sure to avoid damaging them.
  2. Cleaning: Once the bulbs are out of the ground, gently remove any excess soil or debris. Be careful not to remove the outer layer, as this can cause damage to the bulb.
  3. Drying: Allow the bulbs to air dry for a few days in a cool, well-ventilated location. This will help remove any excess moisture and help prevent rotting during storage.
  4. Storage: Choose a suitable container for storing the bulbs. An alternative option is to use a paper bag or mesh bag, which allows for air circulation. Place the bulbs in the container, making sure they are not touching each other. Store the bulbs in a cool and dark location, such as a basement or garage, where the temperature remains between 40-50°F (4-10°C). Make sure the storage area is dry, as excess moisture can cause the bulbs to rot.
  5. Monitoring: Throughout the winter months, check on the stored bulbs occasionally. Make sure they remain dry and free from any signs of mold or rot. If any bulbs show signs of damage, remove them from the storage container to prevent the spread of disease.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure the health and longevity of your daffodil bulbs during their winter storage. This will ultimately lead to beautiful blooms in your garden once they are planted in the spring.

How do you force daffodil bulbs indoors

If you love daffodils and want to enjoy their cheerful blooms indoors before they start flowering in the garden, you can force the bulbs to bloom early. While daffodils naturally bloom in spring, you can trick them into blooming indoors by providing the right conditions.

Here’s how to force daffodil bulbs indoors:

1. Choose the right container: Select a container with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. A shallow container will work well for daffodils.

2. Prepare the bulbs: Start by storing the bulbs in a cool place, preferably indoors, for about 12-14 weeks before potting. This helps the bulbs go through a chilling period, which they require to bloom.

3. Potting the bulbs: Fill the container with well-draining potting mix, leaving about an inch at the top. Plant the bulbs with the pointed tops facing up. Make sure the bulbs are planted at a depth that allows the tips of the bulbs to be just level with the soil surface.

4. Provide proper care: Water the containers well after potting, and then place them in a cool location with a temperature of around 40-45°F (4-7°C). This will mimic winter conditions and encourage the bulbs to produce strong shoots.

5. Force the bulbs: Once shoots have emerged and are about 2-3 inches tall, you can move the containers to a warmer location with a temperature of around 60-65°F (15-18°C) to encourage flowering. Keep the containers well-watered and monitor the moisture level.

6. Enjoy the blooms: With the right care and conditions, your daffodil bulbs will bloom within a few weeks. Make sure to keep the flowers well-watered and enjoy the beautiful display.

7. Store for future use: After the flowers have withered, you can remove the spent blooms. Let the foliage die back naturally. Once the leaves have turned yellow, you can stop watering the bulbs. Store the containers in a cool, dry place until you are ready to force the bulbs again next winter.

By following these tips, you can successfully force daffodil bulbs indoors and enjoy their sunny blooms before the gardening season begins. With proper care, your daffodils can be kept and forced for several years to come.


Once you have carefully chosen the daffodil bulbs you want to force, it’s time to pot them. Start by selecting a high-quality pot or container that has drainage holes at the bottom. Daffodils prefer plastic pots as they retain moisture better than clay pots.

Fill the pot with a well-draining potting mix. You can also use a mix of equal parts soil, sand, and perlite. Make sure to leave enough space at the top of the pot for watering.

If the bulbs have been stored, check for any signs of withered or damaged parts. Remove any withered or rotten parts of the bulbs using a clean, sharp knife or scissors.

Plant the bulbs with the pointed end facing upwards, about two times the bulb’s diameter deep into the potting mix. Bulbs can be planted close together, but they should not touch each other or the sides of the pot. This will give them room to grow.

Add a little water to the pot to moisten the mix, but make sure not to overwater. Keep the soil moist until the bulbs start to grow roots. Do not water if the soil is still damp.

If you prefer, you can also “pre-chill” the bulbs in the refrigerator for about 12-14 weeks before potting them. This mimics the cold winter they would experience in the ground and helps stimulate growth.

Once the bulbs are potted, place the pot in a cool, dark location, such as a basement or garage, with temperatures between 40-50°F (4-10°C). Leave them there for about 8-12 weeks to allow the roots to develop and the shoots to grow. This chilling period is crucial for successful forcing.

After the chilling period, when the shoots are about 2-3 inches tall, you can bring the pot into a warm and bright location. Place it near a sunny window or under grow lights. Be sure to turn the pot regularly to prevent the stems from leaning towards the light.

As the bulbs grow, brush off any excess moisture from the leaves and remove any yellow or withered foliage. This will help prevent disease and keep the plant healthy.

Keep the potting mix slightly moist, but avoid overwatering as this can cause root rot. Water only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

With these tips, you can successfully force daffodil bulbs indoors and enjoy their gorgeous spring-flowering display a few weeks earlier than usual.

Additionally, if you wish to force extra bulbs for replanting in the garden, you can reserve the cold-treated bulbs before potting them. Store these bulbs in a cool, dry place until the appropriate planting date. This way, you can ensure a continuous cycle of beautiful daffodils for years to come.

Remember to follow the instructions provided by the source you obtained the bulbs from, as different varieties may have specific requirements for successful forcing.


Chilling is an important step in forcing daffodil bulbs indoors. It helps to simulate the cold winter temperatures that these bulbs require in order to bloom. Here’s a step-by-step guide to chilling daffodil bulbs:

  1. Carefully dig up the daffodil bulbs from your garden using a garden fork or a small trowel. Be sure to brush off any excess soil.
  2. Inspect the bulbs for any signs of damage or disease. Remove any bulbs that are soft, rotting, or otherwise unhealthy.
  3. Prepare a yellow plastic pot or a similar container for potting the bulbs. Make sure the pot has drainage holes to allow for proper moisture control.
  4. Place the bulbs in the pot with the pointed end facing up. Gently press them into the potting soil so that the base of each bulb is covered.
  5. Add additional potting soil around the bulbs, leaving the tips of the bulbs just above the soil surface.
  6. Water the pot thoroughly to ensure the soil is evenly moist.
  7. Place the pot in a cool, dark location, such as a basement or a refrigerator. Maintain a temperature between 35-45°F (2-7°C) for the best chilling results.

The bulbs should be chilled for at least 12-16 weeks to break their dormancy. During this time, avoid exposing them to freezing temperatures as it can cause damage to the bulbs. It’s also important to check on the bulbs occasionally to make sure they are not drying out.

After the chilling period, you’ll notice that the bulbs have developed roots and shoots. At this point, you can bring the pot of bulbs indoors and place it near a sunny window.

With proper care and nurturing, your daffodil bulbs will begin to bloom in about three to eight weeks. Enjoy the gorgeous yellow flowers and the sweet fragrance that daffodils bring to any indoor space!

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.