Spring bulbs


Hi, I am new in Toronto [ Scarborough ]. I do not have much of a yard. I want to know if I can plant bulbs in containers that are on glass enclosed porch and bring them inside house during coldest months. If yes what variety of bulbs would you recommend? I will be most grateful for the advice.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. Spring bulbs are so uplifting, as they peek through the snow or offer bright colour on a chilly spring day. Forcing bulbs is a perfect way of introducing living colour and scent to your winter interior. Some reliable bulbs for winter forcing are tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, snowdrops, glory of the snow, muscari and Dutch iris. These bulbs usually require 12 weeks in a temperature less than 50F (10C). Anywhere from 35F to 40F (1.6C to 4.4C) is a good range. As long as the interior temperature of your glass enclosed porch is similar to a cold frame in winter, it should work quite well.

The Toronto Master Gardeners Guide below details the process of using a cold frame for bulbs. Under the section “Dormant Bulbs in Pots” are the instructions of how to plant bulbs in terracotta containers, plus the time period for storing them in a cold place.

Extend Season with Cold Frames

Tulip planting in your garden and in pots is discussed in this TMG Gardening Guide:

Tulip Planting

Holland Bulbs website gives some interesting tips for success in forcing bulbs below:

Bulb Chilling and Forcing

Another suggestion is to plant some herbs or a few vegetables in pots and expand your indoor garden.  Below is an article from University of Illinois about extending your growing season with a cold frame:

Cold frames Extend Season

Best of luck with your winter growing project. It will be a delight to see fresh, green shoots and flowers blooming in our coldest months.