Plant and Seed Shop
Hyacinths - Bulbs
Bulbs to buy online, seasonal availability
Nothing surpasses the first hyacinths for scent, It's like time travel for the nose having wonderfully fragrant hyacinths in full bloom in the middle of the winter, it always seems like the greatest luxury. Plant 3 or 4 of one colour per bowl. Don't be tempted to mix different varieties as the chances are they won't flower all at the same time. I tend to go for the blues and whites, which as well as being my favourite flower colours, are reliable. Be sure to get bulbs that are "prepared", meaning they have had a period of cold already and when potted are convinced it's time to wake up for spring. This is not necessary when planting outdoors.
Outdoor hyacinths are best planted near to the house where you will see them and smell them, even the large varieties are very close to the ground. Alternatively I plant them out of the way but near a path, there's a large patch now at the bottom of the garden near the compost heap, (no, not to get rid of the smell), but for cutting and bringing into the house.
If you start before about the middle of September (but the sooner the better), you can have flowering Hyacinth bulbs for the house in flower at or just after Christmas. If you can get them planted before November, then they will have a chance to start growing before it begins to get very cold which will help them to flower all the earlier, they'll certainly be up early in the new year and long before the outdoor ones have woken up.
Plant - In containers, borders or beds, hyacinths can also be naturalized in grass well.
Depth - 4-6" of soil above the top of the bulb, less in clay, more in sandy soils.
Depth in containers - The top of the bulbs should emerge from the compost, broad and shallow containers are most common and popular, after much experimentation I have found that container grown Hyacinths do much better in deeper containers - a normally proportioned plant pot is fine. The deeper the roots go, the higher the flowers and leaves seem to reach too. Moss can be used to cover the bulbs from about half way up to almost the tip.
Cultivation - after flowering, remove seed heads, water once with double strength liquid fertiliser.
Leave leaves to die down naturally - don't tie the leaves, cut them or otherwise damage them in any way, this is when the bulb is built up again for next years flowers, any interference will stop this and give smaller, weaker or blind flowering. Leave at least 6 weeks for the leaves to do their job, if possible don't touch them at all until they are completely brown and shriveled and can be pulled up with little resistance.
Container cultivation - if the containers are to be brought indoors, grow them on somewhere cool but sheltered an unheated greenhouse, conservatory or similar is ideal. Let them grow as tall as possible before bringing them indoors as they may get leggy and even not flower if brought in too early. They will last longest in a cool but bright position. Support will probably be necessary.
After the flowers are over, put them outside in a sheltered position and grow / water / feed as normal for bulbs. They will not perform as well the next year, so don't even bother trying, bulbs for indoor containers should be bought fresh each year. The old ones can be planted in the garden as outdoor bulbs. They won't be very good in year 2, but will have recovered their strength from year 3 onwards.
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