Friday, February 17, 2012

Hyacinths Rule, or Rules for Hyacinths

Forced Hyacinths have finished up in my greenhouse.

Today I planted out all that were left; some were planted out a week or more ago. Those in pots of soil were just eased from the pot. I teased the roots that had started to circle the bottom of the pot. Holding them upright in a hole, I poured dirt around and over the roots. Most of them will bloom again next year. Some take a year off. Some will split to have two bloom stalks.

Common Hyacinths Hyacinthus orientalis have contractile roots that pull the bulb deeper into the soil. Therefore I planted them near the top of the soil with the foliage outside. Potted tulips were growing with bulbs above soil level. They'll be safer covered with soil outside and can pull themselves deeper into sandy soil if needed.

When I compared the results of bulbs in water and stones with those in soil, I've decided to plant in soil in the future, after years of planting in stones. The foliage is bigger and in most cases the bloom was larger and fuller.

A bulb in soil does not have to use all its energy producing a blossom, drawing from the soil. Of course this year's bloom was formed by last year's foliage but nutrients are available at all times for forming foliage when planted in soil.

Bulbs that I planted in ground in the fall when I put bulbs for forcing in to chill are just coming out of the ground with buds visible. Bulbs planted in previous years are blooming, have already bloomed or are showing buds, depending on cultivar.

Hyacinths have a long season of bloom because there are early and late species. Hyacinths bloomed in sequence in the greenhouse for a month. Earliest hyacinths outside started blooming at the end of January.

Not only Dutch hyacinths, which are the full, round bloom stalks but Roman-type hyacinths are available.  I like them for flower beds.

There really are no hard and fast rules for hyacinths except that they need some chill to properly bloom. The bulbs need support, whether in water and stones or in soil. You really can't have too many. Eight is a good number for a little clump in the garden.

I haven't shown white, nor pale yellow nor pale apricot Gypsy Queen because they haven't bloomed outside yet. I only forced pink, fuchsia and blue/purple indoors this year. The hardest part is choosing.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer       


  1. Oh I can just imagine the wonderful fragrance of your hyacinths. Heavenly.

  2. Can't wait to see the apricot. I've never seen that color before. I have only the dark purple, paler blue and white. You've inspired me to get more hyacinths next fall. Do you mail order bulbs or buy them locally?

    1. I buy locally on impulse and carefully plan mail orders.

  3. Love your hyacinths Nell. I always love seeing the different varieties of bloomers that you have growing there.


  4. I have the light and the dark pink. The dark pink was blooming as it emerged from the soil and didn't grow very tall. Your collection is very impressive. Looking forward to you sharing the other colors as well.

  5. I can smell that beautiful perfume through your photos. Thanks!

  6. They are beautiful! I planted some this year - a new experience for me. I can't wait to see if they come up! Those blue ones are just gorgeous.

  7. Nell, you have educated me about these wonderful bulbs. I planted a few last fall in a tub....only because of your posts about them. I can't wait to see the results.

    A BYW comment: How delightful to come to a blog where I didn't have to type not one but two blasted words or letter or numbers in order to comment! I can rarely decipher those fuzzy black things. I will probably have to stop comments in those blogs. I don't used the "security" measure either and have never had a problem.

    1. I hope your hyacinths turn out as marvelous as I know they'll be, Glenda.
      I hate those fuzzy letters. I had a hard enough time when they were clear. I don't understand why they have to be so convoluted. I get an occasional spammer but setting the time for moderation kind of short helps out on that too.

      I get a perverse delight when a spammer slips through, pouncing on the delete button. I don't know why they keep trying.

  8. I'm a fan of hyacinths, and I sometimes buy some forced ones from a local greenhouse at this time of year. All the ones in my Gettysburg garden were acquired in this way. I should make the extra effort one of these years to buy bulbs and force them myself. -Jean

  9. Hyacinths - one of my favorites! They're blooming in my garden now and have been for several weeks.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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