George Dorner, Illinois

Daffodil questionL Timing pots of bulbs for bloom

October 22, 2010

Categories: Bulb Information, Growing Daffodils, Planting, Pots, Show Results, Societies and groups, Soil

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We received this message at the Midwest Daffodil Society site. I told Dan I would forward it to the experts – after giving him a response urging another approach.

I have not had luck timing my pots for our show. Seems risky, even with paperwhites. In Chicago it would be rare that we would have many daffs in bloom after the first week of June.
I did refer Dan to for the good general info there.
George Dorner

Begin forwarded message:

From: Daniel Harrington < title=>
Date: October 21, 2010 1:18:15 PM CDT
To:  title=
Subject: Daffodil question


I’m hoping that one of your members can assist me with a basic question.  I wasn’t able to find a good answer in online forums.

We’d like to use some daffodil bulbs as table centerpieces in our wedding in June in Chicago.  We’d like to grow the bulbs in glass jars with either just water, or soil if necessary.  We’ve seen online resources for forcing bulbs indoors, but these typically assume earlier blooming periods — i.e. Feb through April.  Can you suggest an appropriate timeline for how and when to do this for our June event?  Do we still chill them, and is an unheated garage suitable for this during Chicago winter?

Any help would be greatly appreciated; we know that we need to be thinking about this now in order to hit the date on time!



8 responses to “Daffodil questionL Timing pots of bulbs for bloom”

  1. John Beck says:

    I would guess that someone would have data to answer this question,
    I would expect Brent Heath to know where to get bulbs already prepared for this if he does not sell them himself?

  2. David Liedlich says:

    Are there any sources of cut daffodil flowers from Canada that might be available in June? That might be a more reliable option than trying to time forced bulbs for the wedding. I am guessing that some growers in Minnesota still have some good blooms in early June as well.

  3. Matt and Cherry Groves says:

    I don’t think you will find any source for cut daffodils in June in Canada ….definitely not here in Western Canada. Many years ago I held a couple of thousand daffodil bulbs – probably a dozen varieties- planted in plastic bulb trays for a Vancouver flower show in June. If memory serves me correctly I planted them late, (not unusual for me!) probably around the end of November and used a walk in cooler to put them through a normal rooting cycle at about 48 degrees F and then held them at slightly above freezing until April when they were brought out to develop in a cool spot to the stage where the buds were just beginning to split open ….then back in the cooler at about 33 degrees F until a few days before the show. They went into the display still in their trays, opened well and were spectacular but it takes a lot of work and the right equipment – I know I would never do it again.
    Some time ago I saw an article somewhere about someone in Holland using a similar system but actually freezing the bulbs after they were rooted. They could then bring them out at any time for year round blooms….sorry I don’t know if that is still done or who to contact about it.
    Matt Groves, Bradner, BC, Canada

  4. John Beck says:

    I had a question asked of me which I cannot answer- are hiipeastium available in bulk?
    Looking for less than 100 corms
    John Beck

  5. Jason Delaney says:

    Hippeastrum bulbs are available in bulk, yes.

    My favorite U.S. resources with the most selection are van Engelen (, Colorblends (, and Brent and Becky’s Bulbs (

    For even more exotic types, including standard hybrids typically several years ahead of the general selection available in the U.S., try Royal Colors (, in the Netherlands. They ship to the States, and are very easy and friendly to work with.

    For a small phyto fee, Garden Import ( of Canada generally has a superb selection of the Hadeco South African mini amaryllis; too, ( often has the largest Hadeco selection in North America, and their prices are very reasonable for such an exotic assortment. These ‘minis’ are just that: flamboyancy of the amaryllis in a half-sized plant, often in color ranges and combinations including black-reds, greens, wild stripes, halos, banded, etc. Very unique and novel selection.

    The folks at ( do nothing but amaryllis, and they have a fine if not general assortment of the classic standards. Excellent prices and great customer service.

    Lastly, White Flower Farm ( has an amazing selection, but their prices warrant some shopping around for the same bulb from different vendors; WFF’s selection seems ever-changing, and demands frequent web visiting to find the newest offering for the week.

    Each company is worth some sleuthing… have fun!


  6. Colleen Rourke says:

    Thank you so much for such an informative post!

    Does anyone have good sources for lilies?

    Colleen in NE Calif

  7. Jason Delaney says:

    While I’m on my bulb crate…

    John Scheepers ( and their wholesale division van Engelen (, and Brent and Becky’s Bulbs ( summer and fall lists have a stellar selection of really good, Dutch and American-grown lilies.

    The North American Lily Society has a great resource page listing many companies the Missouri Botanical Garden (where I am bulb curator) would highly recommend. The Lily Garden, Mak-Leek, Van der Salm Bulb Farm, and the Lily Nook are all places we shop for the newest specialty hybrids and hard-to-find novelties.


  8. Ian Tyler says:

    A few years ago I went to Taylors Bulbs, Norfolk, England in May to pick up some flowers from Johnny Walkers who took me into his cold shed where he keep all his trays of bulbs for his RHS Chelsea display. Each try had about 100 bulbs and very little soil and the temperature was keep a little above freezing about 35F to 37F, if I remember well the bulbs were in growth but held back from flowering, Johnny if you do not know of him more often or not wins a gold medal at Chelsea most years for his display.
    One thing to remember if cooling daffodil is that they go over quickly once in normal conditions.
    The Chelsea display is changed every night if my memory serves me well!
    I’m not sure if anyone from Taylors is on daffnet, but if so can you fill us in on the methods you use.

    Regards to all,