Reblogged from http://www.woolygreen.com
Select one or more top-quality, early-blooming, large, tulip bulbs in one or a mix of colors. Not all varieties of tulips can be forced. Packages of bulbs often state whether they are suitable for forcing. If you are in doubt, check with a salesperson at the garden center.
Condition your tulip bulb or bulbs to prepare them to bloom. Place the bulbs in a cool, dark space for 15 to 17 weeks. The temperature needs to be a constant 38 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit. The vegetable bin in your refrigerator likely provides ideal conditions.
Place pebbles or small decorative stones into a waterproof bowl. Fill the bowl about two-thirds full so that the stones don’t tumble over the rim. The depth of the bowl needs to accommodate at least 4 inches of pebbles to allow room for the tulip roots as they develop.
Set your bulb on top of the stones so the pointed end stands straight up. This is the part of the tulip bulb from which the leaves will sprout. Make certain the bulb is sitting securely and won’t topple. If you group several bulbs together, leave an inch of space between them to allow for growth.
Add water to the bowl so that the level is beneath the bulb but does not touch it. The pebbles initially wick the water upward and feed the bulb. This allows roots to grow into the water without rotting the base of the bulb.
Place the bowl in a cool, dark area for an additional four to six weeks. This encourages the roots to develop first, which allows each tulip plant to develop stronger leaves and stems.
Set the bowl in a sunny, warm spot after roots have developed. Maintain the water level so that it covers the roots but not the bulb. Colorful tulip blooms will appear within a few weeks.