How to Arrange Forced Bulbs Like a Pro

Be sure to buy bulbs that are pre-chilled and ready to “force” — trick into blooming early — or ask for instructions on prepping them at home.

forced bulb floral arrangement
Photo by Kevin Bennett
From the January/February 2020 issue of Maine Homes by Down East

Welcome spring early with a sinuous arrangement of forced bulbs and backyard greens dreamed up by Beth Renault, of Mount Desert’s Floret


“I was inspired by my daily winter walk along Somes Sound in Mount Desert, where I gathered the greenery, moss, and some of the dried elements for this arrangement. Here on the coast, woodland moss is often exposed in the depths of winter and seeing the bare ground always gives me hope for spring.” — Beth Renault


  • 17- by 5-inch lined planter
  • Potting soil
  • Small rocks
  • Hyacinth and narcissus bulbs
  • Greenery, such as arborvitae, boxwood, incense cedar, and juniper branches
  • Succulents, such as echeveria and kalanchoe stonecrop
  • Dried plants, such as gray alder, kiwi vine, and ornamental oregano
  • Moss


1. Purchase bulbs and succulents and gather rocks, greens, dried plants, and moss from the forest or yard — or buy them from a florist; crafts stores also carry dried plants.

2. Fill the bottom inch of your container with rocks for drainage; top with moistened potting soil.

3. Sink the bottom halves of your bulbs into the soil. Plant succulents around them, then add the greens and moss. Finish by poking in dried elements for contrast and height.

4. Place the arrangement, which should last six to eight weeks, in a warm, sunny spot, watering when the soil dries and rotating if the plants lean toward the light. Replace the bulbs and greens when needed and enjoy throughout the season.

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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