Hyacinths are just superb. The densely-packed spikes of flowers give off a fresh, sweet scent, and when the sun catches the petals, they sparkle as if they’d been covered with diamond dust. But are you getting the best out of your hyacinth bulbs? A lot of people think of them as “one hit wonders” to flower once and then discard. But with a little care, your hyacinths can give you pleasure for years.
What’s the Secret to Growing Gorgeous Hyacinths
If you’ve ever grown hyacinths before, you’ll know how easy it is to get show-stopping blooms. That’s because the bulbs have been groomed for years to give you their very best – but we’ll see how you can do much the same thing for an encore next year, and the year after.
Picking the right spot for hyacinths is fairly easy. All you really need is a sunny area with well-drained soil. If you have heavy soil, you can combat this by composting and building up the beds so that they are a little higher than the surrounding ground level. Alternatively, you can grow them in pots.
If you’re planning on growing your hyacinths as indoor plants, choose a sunny, South-facing window and place them so that they’ll get the full benefit of the sun’s rays.
Hyacinths are adapted to grow in poor soils, so they don’t need much feeding – in fact, you’ve probably seen the bulb glasses that are made especially for hyacinths. All they get is water, but they still flower beautifully. However, in this context, the bulbs will be somewhat depleted by the end of the flowering season.
Flowering and Beyond – the Time to Think About Next Year’s Hyacinth Blooms
Once you’ve enjoyed your flowers and they’ve begun to fade, it’s time to think about next year’s blooms. You want your plants to channel as much energy as possible into the bulb, so cut off the faded flowers at the base of the flower stem.
Now, all the nourishment that is stored in the leaves can be channeled back into the bulb as it enters dormancy. If you’re going to feed at all, this is the time to do so. Use a liquid fertilizer to make the nutrition immediately available in the soil solution for best results.
As the leaves begin to fade and yellow, you know that the bulb is preparing for dormancy. Now’s the time to reduce watering frequency. When the last hints of green have gone from the leaves, your bulbs will be ready for storage. With potted hyacinths, the easiest way to do this is to store the bulbs pot and all until autumn. The soil can dry out completely. However, you can also lift them and store the bulbs on their own if you want to use the container for something else meanwhile.
Lifting and Storing your Hyacinth Bulbs
Once the leaves have died off, allow the pots or beds where your bulbs are growing to dry out. Now you can lift your bulbs. Spread them out in a shady, dry spot like a garden shed to cure. Moisture is your enemy right now, so place them on newspaper or on a mesh base. Within three to five days, they will be ready for storage.
Keep them in a cool, dark place, and if you want to bag them, use a mesh or paper bag. Plastic tends to sweat, and this can cause rot. If you want to be extra-safe, you can dust your bulbs down with a fungicidal powder.
Be sure to set up a reminder system so that you don’t forget to plant your bulbs when autumn comes around, and you’re ready to get even more pleasure out of your lovely hyacinths!
Some Hyacinth Cultivars to Consider
There are so many worthy Hyacinth cultivars out there that you’ll be spoiled for choice. Deciding on cultivar will be a personal choice, but broadly speaking, you can either go for classic varieties or try some of the very unusual Hyacinths we keep in stock for connoisseurs.
- Hyacinth Blue Star (deep blue) ↑
- Hyacinth Blue Eyes (ice blue) ↑
- Hyacinth Carnegie (pure white) ↑
Unusual Colours and Forms
- Hyacinth Royal Navy (double blooms, dark blue) ↑
- Hyacinth Miss Saigon (lilac) ↑
- Hyacinth Hollyhock (double blooms, bright pink) ↑
- Hyacinth City of Haarlem (yellow cream) ↑
- Hyacinth Gipsy Queen (peach) ↑
- Hyacinth China Pink (very soft pink) ↑
- Hyacinth Woodstock (plum) ↑
- Hyacinth Jan Bos (carmine) ↑
- Hyacinth Dark Dimension (near-black) ↑
- Hyacinth Blue Tango (double blooms, pale blue) ↑
Mixtures: The Best of Everything
- Hyacinths Mixed Colours (classic colours) ↑
- Sgt Pepper’s Hyacinth Collection (bright Bohemian shades as seen on the cover of the Beatles’ iconic album) ↑