Hyacinths are beautiful flowers in bloom during the time of spring, and even at a fair distance, it is not difficult to smell their distinctive and intense fragrance. A member of the Lily family, with the botanical name of Hyacinthus Orientalis, with distinctive flowers which are usually blue in colour, though this colour can vary; some hyacinths are coloured white, some are yellow or pink, though some can be red, apricot coloured, or even purple. Since the 17th century, Dutch bulb growers have been growing and breeding hyacinths, and if you wish to grow your own hyacinths you have a number to choose from, and it helps the modern hyacinth is one of the easiest plants to grow. They can be grown either in the ground or in pots, and they can be kept in vases or in recycled jars full of water where they will survive for a while, and the bulbs are large, and with the stems, they are quite robust without any soil needed.
Hyacinths are a perennial flower which prefers full sun in order to grow, maturing to a height between six to twelve inches while being between four and nine inches in width. Although they can be grown and kept in pots or jars full of water, people who grow them in soil should choose a soil type which is loamy, with a pH between six or seven.
How to Grow Hyacinths
The best way to grow hyacinths for the strongest scent possible is to grow the plants in blocks, or just keep more than one individual plant around; people who keep the plants indoors can enjoy the pleasure of having the plants have more bulbs in one jar. Hyacinths are a great mix with other spring-growing plants, their vibrant colours mixing well with other flowers, while their spiky stalks add variety to the tulips with their wine glass shaped cups, and the daffodils with their ruffled cups.
Most varieties of hyacinth bulbs are quite large in size. To grow them properly, plant the bulbs pointed end up, and plant them in soil three-times deeper than the bulbs. Some types of hyacinth will need soil that is seven or eight inches in depth, though in warmer climates that can be planted in ground that is less deep, though the plants should be given some space when they’ve been planted – plant them a few inches away.
Some varieties, particularly the taller variants, and they can be staked, so they should be planted more closely in this instance.
Rodents – all species – will eat the bulbs, but by planting gravel in the planting hole, you can protect them. Another alternative option is to buy a repellent that works on rodents. Rodents tend to avoid eating daffodils, so you can try the easier option of simply planting the hyacinths in among them, though it doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile to protect your flowers.
Hyacinths prefer to be planted in full to partial shade – they can tolerate light shaded conditions, and like all spring plants they will bloom and become dormant when the season ends before trees fully leaf out, so shade isn’t really something to be concerned about when planting these flowers. Although they aren’t that particular when it comes to the soil pH, Hyacinths thrive in a soil which is neutral to slightly acidic, but they dislike wet soils, and too rich soils will lead to the plant flopping. Take it easy when working with the organic matter.
Once you’ve planted the bulbs into the planting hole, water it well, and continue watering into the winter period, but only do this if there isn’t any regular rainfall. Always allow the ground to dry before watering. The bulbs will rot away if they are left to sit in large quantities of water.
The good thing about gardeners who have hyacinths is they’ve got a hardy plant which can be expected to survive in winter. The only problem is they don’t live long, lasting only a few years – three or four at least. The bulbs need a chilling period to bloom properly, and in many places, the ground will grow cold enough for this chilling period to take place. However, in warmer places, the best thing to do would be to dig the plant bulbs up and chill them. There are many fertilisers available to feed your hyacinths, and there are bulb foods you can simply throw down into the planting hole during the time you plant the bulbs. Bone meal can be used as well.
Be careful when handling the bulbs – they can cause light irritation thanks to the dust on their skins, so its best to handle them carefully with gloved hands.
How to care for Hyacinths
Hyacinths are fairly easy to look after – the bulbs can be left in the ground for a year, and you can dig them up and plant them in dry compost in cool places which are preferably dry, and in the Autumn you can simply replant them.
When the plants finish flowering, they will need attention because the bulbs have started to build up their strength and have begun to produce their buds for the next year. As soon as the flowers have faded, start deadheading them once the flowers have finished fading. Just nip off the dead flower and the seed pod behind it. Let the leaves die on their own – the foliage will turn brown on its own, but don’t be tempted to cut it – the bulbs need the leaves to feed on.
You can help them – feed them liquid feed every ten to fourteen days while they’re still in leaf.