Why Buy Hyacinth Bulbs?
Hyacinth bulb, with its unique vertical growth, jewel-like flowers and captivating fragrance is a winning choice for your spring garden. The flowers bloom early in the spring season, often emerging from the blanket of snow to infuse delightful color into the cold, white landscape. The tiny, bell-shaped blooms come in a rainbow of colors, including varying shades of red, blue and sensuous, soft pastels. Hyacinths are excellent for cutting and can perform just as well when forced indoors as they do out in the garden.
Throughout most of the U.S., they will return year after year, adding beauty and fragrance to garden beds and indoor bouquets. Dutch bulb growers have cultivated Hyacinths since the 17th century. By 1838, these brilliantly colored spring gems had become so popular that more than 2,000 varieties were available! The uniform, upright shape of the flower spikes and jewel-tone colors made Hyacinths a favorite for formal Victorian gardens. Now 21st century gardeners are rediscovering this classic flowering bulb, which complements gardens of all sizes and styles.
How to Grow Hyacinths?
These versatile plants thrive in zones 4 through 9, and do best when planted in sunny or partially shaded sites that offer well-drained soil. Although, you can easily force your hyacinths indoors. You will need a hyacinth bulb vase - a special glass vase with a pinched neck and bulb-sized "cup" at the top. Most garden centers carry several shapes and colors. Place the bulb in the top of the vase. Fill the vase with water to just below the bulb (add a piece of charcoal to help prevent algae growth). Place the vase in a cool, dark place for two months.
How to Care for Hyacinth Bulbs?
Once your Hyacinths are planted, follow these care instructions for the best results:
- Check the water level weekly to make sure it is just under the base of the bulb.
- After eight to ten weeks, place the vase in a dimly lit place. By now you should see roots extending into the water and a shoot growing upwards. If the roots have not developed well enough, put the bulb back in the dark for a few weeks more.
- Over the next three weeks, slowly bring the vase into a warmer, brighter position, but no more than 65 degrees. Too much heat at this stage can result in a rush into flowering before the stem has developed enough height.
- Four to six weeks after bringing the vase out of the dark, your hyacinth will be in full bloom! Keep it in a bright spot with diffused light. Full sun will cause it to age quickly.
- After flowering, transplant into your garden.
How to Help Hyacinths Look Their Best?
Hyacinth bulbs are ideal for formal, manicured garden settings such as a Victorian-style carpet bed and look equally as pleasing in window boxes, cottage gardens or spread randomly among daffodils
and other spring flowering bulbs
. For a bold, dramatic effect in your spring landscape, fill an entire bed with a single Hyacinth variety, or plant masses of Hyacinths to form a large, gently curving swath of color. For even more visual excitement, plant a single variety of tulip of a contrasting color along both sides of the Hyacinths -- choose a tulip that will bloom simultaneously with your hyacinths.
For a more informal look, mix hyacinths of various colors with tulips, daffodils, pansies, primroses and other spring-blooming flowers. Be sure to plant a few groups along a walkway, where you can enjoy their fragrance each time you pass.