Forcing Tulips in Water
Yes, Tulips can be grown in water. I have tried it, and it is easier than it sounds.
After trying it out, this is the most preferable method for growing indoor Tulips for me. Not only I can avoid the hassle of constantly having to check on soil moisture level (at the same time, preventing the bulb rot), Tulip grows faster in water too compared to using soil as medium. I don’t even have to be worried about Spring to show up; as indoor, room temperature is perfect for Tulip to sprout.
!Important! Tulips need a lot of light. Make sure you have a bright location for them.
The right water level.
Just get yourself a glass jar or vase; similar to the forcing jars used for Hyacinths or just an empty, cleaned up honey jar. Fill it with glass pebbles (or any pebbles!) for the roots to anchor themselves as they grow. The water level has to be right under the bulb. Don’t let the bottom of the bulb touch the water as this can cause rot. The roots will find their way to the water, as mother nature has taught them.
After 2-3 days.
Although this is my favorite way to force my Tulip to bloom earlier than its actual blooming season, the bulb is still susceptible to getting blue mold. Therefore, it is wise to get bulbs with their outer skins still attached, so they won’t be in direct contact with the walls of the jar or vase, which increases the risk of mold growth.
After 4-5 days.
Notice that once the roots begin to submerge into water, more roots will show up in no time. Watch the bulb sprouting, turning itself from pale yellow to green. It is better to allow the roots to grow first; taking up nutrients into the bulb, giving energy for leaves to form. The bulb will shrink in size if the leaves grow much faster than the roots.
If you see new growth or bulblet sticking out from the side of the bulb, you can choose to let it grow or remove it to let the plant focus its energy to the main growth. If you’d like to keep it, here’s what you can do: position the bulb using some sticks (I used toothpicks) just to lift the bulb up a bit.
Late-blooming Tulips are ideal for Malaysian climate because they need warm soil to trigger growth. In my case, growing indoors during winter requires me to provide such temperature for my Fringed Tulip which is a late-blooming variety.
Tulip ‘Lingerie’ blooming sign.
For this, I place all my Tulips by a bright windowsill, and above the heater. The temperature remains 24° to 28°C during daytime. Placing plants above the heater is a really bad move for us here, but I didn’t really have a choice.
Tulip ‘Lingerie’, dated February 4th, 2015.
*Side note: If you notice the ‘florally yours’ watermark on the pictures, that was what Fyoria once called!