Whilst many Hyacinths each year are sold as prepared Hyacinth
Bulbs for forcing into flower at Christmas, they are also a
deservedly popular choice for flowering in the garden in the
middle of spring.
The range of Hyacinth Flower colours is second to none for
the garden at this time of year, and of course the scent!
Sun or light shade are happy places for hyacinths, and of
course they are superb in pots and containers of any type.
of the biggest mistakes I ever made, was as a young Parks Superintendent
at a large London Parks Department. I decided to feature one of the
raised carpet beds as a 'Butterfly of Hyacinths' for the following
The design was carefully drawn on the bed with sand, and my choice of
multiple colours of hyacinths were duly planted for a spectacular
display the following Spring. All we eagerly awaiting the 'masterpiece'.
Alas, what I had failed to realise was that not all Hyacinths flower at
the same time -or height - some with a month difference.
Total Disaster! The display failed, and spectacular butterfly
there was not! In fact it was so bad, that by night the remaining bulbs
were removed and primulas planted ion their place. The Hyacinths bulbs
were transferred to other beds and containers - out of the way!
Planting and Growing Hyacinth Flower Bulbs.
For Garden use, Hyacinths should be planted in the Autumn, and are normally available
in garden centres at the end of August. Stay away from the hyacinths
marked as 'prepared for Christmas' for these are specifically for
growing indoors. If you plant them in the garden, they will not flower
at Christmas, but will flower early in the spring and be ruined by the
spring frosts or other cold weather.
The Hyacinth Flower bulbs that you need, are normally sold in open
boxes or in pre-packed bags. Those on open boxes are normally a better
size - resulting in larger flowers - than the pre-packs. That having
been said, there is nothing wrong with pre-pack Hyacinth, providing
there is no sign of mildew or other rot as a result of storage.
Choose firm bulbs with no outward signs of any disease. If you are prone
to skin allergies, then make sure you wear gloves at all times of
handling. For others, there is no harm by casual contact.
In the garden, Hyacinths should be planted at around 4in (10cm) depth
and as close as 8in between bulbs for a mass planting. Other wise space
as required between spring flowering plants such as primulas and bellis
daisies. To learn from my lesson above, it is best to use single
varieties in any given bed, unless you study the flowering information
Any normal garden soil will suit, other than waterlogged conditions.
Hyacinths are not generally suited to naturalising under grass, but
prefer open soil conditions. Full sun or part shade will be the best
planting areas, but below deciduous shrubs or in the mixed or herbaceous
border will also be suitable planting places.
Hyacinths after Flowers have Died. Do not cut down
the foliage of the flowered Hyacinth, but leave it to die down
naturally. The bulbs can be left in the ground to flower the following
year, but best then to lift every three or four years to divide the
clumps of bulbs and replant. Do this in mid-summer when bulbs are fully
Container growing Hyacinths.
Hyacinths make for a superb patio pot container display, but a little
extra care is required to make sure that the pots are kept reasonably
sheltered through the winter to avoid freezing of the dormant bulbs.
When planting Hyacinth bulbs in containers outdoors, plant the bulbs
just below the surface, but with the nose of the bulb just showing
through. A well drained compost will be needed, and this will help
prevent water logging and freezing in adverse weather conditions. Be
prepared for the worst weather with a few sheets of horticultural fleece
to protect the emerging flower buds.
In either pots or garden, Hyacinths are best grown either a
stand-alone features, or with carpeting bedding plants such as
primroses, forget-me-nots and bellis daisies. This will show off the
Hyacinths as they stand proud over the top of the carpet of flowers
under-planted. Hyacinths are not suited to growing with plants such as
Wallflowers, for the height and foliage of such plants will detract from
the flowers of the Hyacinths - or even hide them altogether.
Propagation of Hyacinths.
New Hyacinth bulbs can be found at the base of the flowered bulbs
when you lift them after flowering in the spring. There will be small
offset bulblets at the base, which can be removed and planted in boxes
or pots in the autumn - growing on for a couple of years before they
will flower. You can also induce more bulblets - or bulbils - by
cutting a cross into the base of the used Hyacinth bulb. This action
will then produce extra bulbils at the base - adjacent to the cuts.
Problems and Pests of Hyacinths.
How nice to be able to report no basic problems. Not even slugs. The
only thing to be aware of is the fact that the bulbs can be damaged by
freezing conditions - especially in pots on the patio.
Varieties of Hyacinths.
The colour range is superb, with purest white, through yellow, pink
deep reds and of course blues and purple Hyacinth Bulbs available. Some
of the better know varieties will include....
Hyacinthus orientalis Jan Bos - Cerise Red flowers -
Hyacinthus orientalis Ostara - One of the best Blue
Hyacinths orientalis City of Haarlem - A good
Hyacinthus orientalis Queen of the Pinks - The name
says it all.
- Hyacinthus orientalis White Pearl - a favourite White Hyacinth.
Hyacinthus orientalis Delft Blue - A superb light-ish
Hyacinthus orientalis Distinction - variable between
dark red and purple
- Hyacinthus orientalis Lady Derby - is a good light but showy
Hyacinths Indoors |