Hyacinth: How to plant, grow and care for hyacinth flowers

Hyacinth has one of the loveliest scents among spring-blooming plants. Even from a distance, you’ll be able to smell their intense bloom scent. Its bloom has spikes of bright colors.

The hyacinth was first introduced in Europe during the 16th century, soon it gained so much popularity that dutch growers had bred more than 2000 cultivars by the 18th century.

In the modern world, there are about 60 cultivars for commercial cultivation.

Hyacinth

source: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

Modern hyacinths are easy to grow, they can be planted in pots, gardens, or water in the bulb vase, with no soil. In this post, you’ll learn how to plant, grow and care for hyacinth flowers.

So, let’s dive into:

When to Plant

Plant them during mid to late autumn, anytime after your first fall frost, and before frost. For best result plant in early fall so that they grow gradually and emerge into shoots in the spring.

Where to Plant

For the largest bloom and tallest stems plant where they get full sun. They are also tolerant of partial shade. Plant in loose soil, moderate fertilizer soil with good drainage, avoid planting where water gets choked; hyacinth gets to rot in wet soil. Before planting lose 2 to 4 inches of soil to add compost or bone-meal as fertilizer.

Quick Guide

Common NameHyacinthus
Scientific NameHyacinthus orientalis
Plant typeBulb plant
Mature Size6 to 12 feet tall and 3-6 inches wide
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeMoist, but well-drained soil
Soil pHNeutral to acidic
Bloom TimeSpring
Flower ColorPurple, red, pink, white, and blue
Hardiness Zones4 to 8 USDA 
Native AreaEurope

How to Grow Hyacinth Bulbs Outdoors

Hyacinth

source: Jim

  • Take hyacinth bulbs and plant 4-5 inches deep in the soil. Sow them 1-2 inches above their root clumps.
  • The plant grows large blooms and tall stems when it gets mature. Plant the bulbs at least 6 inches apart. This will prevent them from getting overcrowded.
  • Use rich soil to plant, though they are hardy, can thrive even in low-quality soil or water. 
  • Planting in rich and compost soil will result in bright, colorful big blooms.
  • You can use 50:50 of potting mix soil, native soil or for better sandy soil, they really hate wet soil. Sandy soil will provide good air circulation and drainage.
  • Water thoroughly after planting bulbs, they need extra water, in the beginning, to get settled in a new place. The bulbs usually get settled or start growing roots after 20-30 days of planting depending upon climate condition.
  • When you get done planting them in the soil, consider spreading 1-2 inches layer of mulch around their bases. 
  • Mulch prevents growing wild weeds around and keeps the soil moist for a longer duration, saving you from regular watering.

Warning: Hyacinth has an organic chemical known as “Oxalic acid” that irritates bare skin. It’s recommended to use gardener’s gloves when handling these bulbs for an extended period. That’s why they are considered toxic.

How to Grow Hyacinth In Pots

Usually, hyacinths are not grown as indoor plants, as they have big blooms and large stem structures. But, they can thrive in pots, with plenty of blooms on them.

Hyacinths

source: Dean Morley

Hyacinth blooms are bright, colorful, and have a pleasant fragrance. Growing them indoors is definitely worth it! 

They can be propagated by seeds as well as stem cutting. Obviously, propagation from seeds takes more time than division or stem cutting. Plus, if you are growing a hybrid or cultivar of hyacinth, growing from seeds is not a good idea.

Hybrides or cultivars are cross-breed between two varieties, if you try to propagate from seeds they won’t grow the same as their mother plant.

So, let’s see how to propagate hyacinth from cutting or bulbs in pots:

  • Take a large or medium-sized pot, depending upon your house area, but the pot should be about 6 inches in diameter
  • Avoid planting in small pots, the plant has large blooms and stems with wide roots, a small pot will not be able to handle it.

Tip: If you’re using stem cutting, first put its bottom tip in the water container for a few days. (Use a half-filled jar or glass). After 14-20 days you will notice there are plenty of roots that have grown from the bottom. Now, plant this cutting, it will get easily settled in the soil.

  • After planting the pot, water it thoroughly till water starts falling from the bottom. 
  • Avoid overwatering, water the pot only when you notice the soil surface is dry.
  • Place the pot where it receives indirect sunlight, placing it in the direct sunlight will damage them as the plant is not established yet. 
  • After one or one-half months of planting, when the plant will grow some branches (about 5-6 inches), place it in full sun to receive maximum sunlight.

Care for Hyacinth Bulbs Indoor

If you want to grow the strongest farthest-reaching scent then plant hyacinth in a large container. They fit best with other spring-blooming bulbs, as they are found in different colors and shapes. Their spiky bloom is a perfect combination of cup-shaped tulips and ruffled daffodils.

Soil 

Hyacinth bulbs are not particularly dependent upon soil pH, they grow well in neutral soil. But they need soil that is loose and well-drained. Plants in rich soil can lead to floppy stalks, so consider the organic matter when preparing or amending the soil.

Water 

Water the plant only when the upper surface of the soil looks dry, they do not like to stand in water. Always water on the base of the plant, wet stems, or blooms for a longer time will invite pests and fungal diseases. In the winter, stop watering to go dormant, start watering in early spring for new growth.

Light

Hyacinth

source: Jim

Hyacinth grows well in full sun and partial shade. Plant these blooming bulbs where they receive at least six hours of sunlight. 

Similar to other spring bulbs, hyacinths also sprout, bloom, and start to fade to dormancy before the nearby trees fully leaf out. So, you do not need to worried much about shade from nearby trees.

Ideally plant the bulbs, where they get early morning sunlight and mid-afternoon shade.

Especially in summer, in the afternoon sunlight is too harsh that may damage plants. They get protected by shade if planted in the right place.

Temperature & Humidity

Hyacinth plant trend to survive winter of USDA hardiness zone between four to eight. 

They need protection from winter growth less than zone four and need to pre-chill if planted above zone eight depending upon variety. 

Dig up the bulbs where the temperature remains above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and chill them somewhere in dark and cold for six weeks. 

Unfortunately, hyacinth bulbs are short-lived plants that last only for 3-4 years. Many gardeners treat them as tender perennials and replace them yearly due to decline. 

Fertilizer

Fertilizer boosts the growth of the plant by providing necessary nutrients. The easiest way to fertilize bulbs is by tossing some bulb food into the plant’s hole at planting time. Feed them at planting time and once in growing months, enough for their growth. There are many fertilizers available for bulbs or you can use a simple bone meal. 

Common pests and diseases

When planted too close, hyacinth plants sometimes suffer from fungal diseases like powdery mildew and some pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and others.

Hyacinth bulbs are a favorite of all kinds of rodents. You can protect the plant by throwing handfuls of gravel into the plant holes or you can try commercially available rodent deterrents. The easiest method is to plant them with daffodil bulbs, which rodents tend to avoid. 

Did I Miss Anything?

Now I’d like to hear from you: which tip from today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe, I didn’t mention your favorite plant growing tip. Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

Before going if you want to grow beautiful flowers in your garden? Then click on these articles also.

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