Hyacinths are a beautiful, scented spring bulbs. They are the most popular of all indoor bulbs. Hyacinthus orientalis (Dutch hyacinth) is the common garden Hyacinth. The leafless flower-stalks bear 30 or more crowded bell-like flowers with a fragrance that can fill a whole room. Roman hyacinths differ in a number of ways – 2 0r 3 stalks are produced by each bulb and the flowers are smaller and less tightly packed. The flower-stalks are thinner and the color range is restricted to white, pink and blue.
Growing hyacinths in your garden is a process that starts with bulb selection. The bulb is actually planted and left dormant before any flower is seen. Based on the growth climate, growing hyacinths are relatively easy. Follow these 6 steps to grow hyacinths in your yard.
1. Choosing a bulb. When making your bulb selections look for a solid, fat bulb. Avoid mushy bulbs or ones with any soft spots. Also check for a rotten smell. To make a nice area of hyacinths you should buy about a dozen bulbs.
2. Planting. Plant your hyacinth bulb in a sunny area. The soil should be light with good drainage. Sandy soil works well for hyacinths. Dig holes 5″ deep and 6″ apart for each bulb. Put bulbs in with pointed side up and flat end down. In the north plant early in the fall. For warmer areas put in the refrigerator for three weeks before planting in the late fall. Avoid planting in very wet areas as the bulbs will rot.
3. Dormant period. Those who live where there is a cold winter you do not need to do anything during the hyacinths dormant period. The bulb, by nature, is a package that has all the food and water the plant needs to get it through the winter. In climates where there is no cold period you may need to dig up bulbs that haven’t grown well in the past and put them in the refrigerator to force dormancy.
4. Growth. Once the hyacinth start sprouting in early spring, the only thing to do is to wait for the flower to bloom. You may notice that as the years go by the flower heads become thinner. This is natural for hyacinths.
5. Maintenance. The main maintenance task for hyacinths is deadheading. Deadheading is simply pinching off old blooms to encourage new growth and transfer energy from making seeds. However, if you bought a self-sowing variety do not deadhead because you will lose the seeds. The only other concerns for hyacinth bulbs is the occasional animal or rodent. If you notice missing bulbs and see signs of them being dug up, put up a barrier or fence to discourage intruders. If no signs of digging around missing bulbs are apparent then you may have a rodent problem. In this case you may need to protect the bulb by digging it up and putting a wire mesh in the hole to surround the bulb.
6. Miscellaneous tasks. You should by now have a nice looking hyacinth patch. You can now enjoy the flowers. Cutting off flowers to put in an inside vase is common with hyacinths as they have a pleasant smell. You may also need, from time to time, to dig up the bulbs and split them to stop overcrowding. This is simply done with a garden spade by chopping the bulb in pieces.
There are scores of varieties. The range of colors is demonstrated by L’Innocence (white), Yellow Hammer (yellow), Lady Derby (pink), Jan Bos (red), Ostara (blue) and Amethyst (violet).
These six steps should produce a wonderful addition to your landscaping. The only other things to do are occasional watering if the season has been dry and the introduction of a fertilizer if growth is weak. Other than that you should be able to enjoy your hyacinths for years to come.