The first blush of spring, the thrill of seeing new life pop into existence. Hyacinth flowers are an excellent way to say goodbye to winter, but when do you need to plant them?
When to plant hyacinth bulbs: One of the easiest plants to have in your garden is the hyacinth. These flowers start out as bulbs and need to be in the ground in the fall before it starts to freeze. You can choose many different colors and sizes, so your whole garden can be awash in a rainbow of colors. Hyacinth bulbs need a cold period of dormancy and the soil has to drain well. If water pools in your soil, you can add sand or compost to it. You can also create a raised garden bed to provide better, more porous soil for your plants.
Planting Hyacinth Bulbs in Different Climates
Hyacinth bulbs need a cold winter for dormancy. If you live in a tropical climate, you can try growing hyacinths but you will need to dig them up and put the bulbs in the refrigerator before planting them again in late winter.
A dry climate should be able to support hyacinths. As long as the winter is cold and you provide enough water to the soil, these flowers should be ok.
A temperate climate can support hyacinths, as long as the winters do get cold enough. Make sure it is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit or colder in the winter and that you have well-draining soil.
One of the best climates for hyacinths is the continental climate. The winters are nice and cold and there isn’t an abundance of rainfall to make the soil soggy.
Unfortunately, there is not enough warmth in the summer for hyacinths to grow in a polar climate.
Choosing Hyacinth Bulbs
Hyacinth flowers start from bulbs and there are many varieties to choose from. You should start by thinking about what color of these flowers you want and how they may complement other early spring flowers in your garden.
Whereas other varieties of hyacinths have taller clumps of flowers, the Carnegie variety is more spread out. This is a perfect addition to a rock garden or border as the green foliage will cover a lot of areas.
If you love bold explosions of the color blue in your garden, then you will love this variety. Blue Festival is large, bushy, and packed full of deep blue flowers.
Those that like a pretty flower will appreciate the delicacy of Anna Marie’s hyacinths. These flowers grow upwards but are not as tightly packed as other varieties.
What makes hyacinth flowers so appealing is the abundance of colors, and the Woodstock variety really shows this off. With a deep magenta color, this variety will really bring a burst of eye-popping color to your garden.
How to Plant Hyacinth Bulbs
Test the soil
When you plant your hyacinth bulbs, you want to first make sure that the soil has the right conditions. Otherwise, all your careful planting won’t result in flowers.
Hyacinths need soil that drains well. This is particularly important during the fall and winter when your bulbs are dormant underground.
Thankfully, testing your soil is relatively easy. Once you have your spot picked out, dig a trench about 3 inches deep. Then, fill it with water.
Watch to see what happens with the water in the hole. If it drains away at a steady rate, then it’s ok. However, if the water remains there and pools, then your soil is not ready yet.
To remedy your soil, simply add organic matter like compost or other draining matter such as sand or pea gravel. This will allow the soil to have more air pockets and thus the water can filter through better.
If you have a very thick layer of clay in your soil, you may want to consider raised garden beds in which you can add better soil above your garden.
Plant in the fall
Hyacinths bloom in the spring, and quite early, so the bulbs need to be in the ground in the fall. If you wait until the spring, they won’t have a long-enough growing time to sprout flowers.
You will want to plant your bulbs in the fall before the first threat of frost. This will allow you to work the ground better and dig as deep as you need to.
Most people will purchase multi-packs of flower bulbs so before you plant your hyacinths, go through and inspect them. Toss any bulbs that are decaying or have signs of disease.
Hyacinth bulbs can be about 2 to 3 inches in size and you want to dig a hole that is about three times the size of them. So, aim to dig a hole that is between 6 and 9 inches deep.
Plant your hyacinths in an area that has full sun for the best flowering results.
After you dig your hole, now is the perfect time to add a bit of fertilizer. You can sprinkle some bonemeal into the hole or use an all-purpose 5-5-10 fertilizer, as long as it is a slow-release option.
Cover the fertilizer with a thin layer of soil to prevent burning the bulb. Then, place the hyacinth bulb into the hole, with the pointy part facing upwards.
Cover the hole with the dirt you have dug out, although you can mix in a bit of compost at this time, too. You can give your hyacinth bulbs some water after you plant them but they don’t need too much.
How to Water Hyacinth Bulbs
A nice feature of hyacinths is that they do not need a lot of water. In fact, after the initial watering when you put the bulbs in the ground, you don’t need to water anymore.
Over winter, your hyacinth bulbs will stay dormant and if there is snow on the ground, this will start to penetrate the soil as it starts to melt in the spring. Your spring should be fairly wet, so there will still be little need for watering.
As for the summer, you can give the area regular watering. Most gardeners will plant other plants around dormant bulbs, so there is a good chance that naturally watering your garden will provide enough water for your hyacinth bulbs.
How to Grow Hyacinth Bulbs
Hyacinth bulbs are perennials. They will continue to come back each year, even if the bulbs remain in the ground.
Furthermore, this is a cold-hardy bulb so there is no need to take them up each year and then re-plant them. After the initial planting, there isn’t much work you need to do with your hyacinths.
To ensure your hyacinth bulbs get the nutrients they need, you can apply fertilizer to the area once a year. You don’t want to be digging around their area a lot, however, as it can disrupt the bulbs and their roots.
Instead, use a slow-release fertilizer. Sprinkle some on the ground, work it in a bit with a small rake, and then water well so it goes deep into the soil.
Your hyacinth flowers will last for a few weeks and you can decide if you want them to beautify your garden or if you want to cut them and bring the beauty inside. Whichever you choose, you want to leave the foliage of the flower for a while.
You can certainly cut off the dead flowers and even the flower stalk, but that foliage serves an important function. It will continue to gather sunlight and nutrients, which are then stored in the bulb underground for the next year.
Try to wait until the foliage starts to yellow and wither before you remove it from your garden.
Now, if you happen to live in an area that does not have cold winters, you can still grow hyacinths but you will have to take an extra step. These flowers need a cold period, and if this doesn’t happy naturally, you will have to create it yourself.
Those that live in an area where it doesn’t get colder than 60 degrees Fahrenheit will need to dig their bulbs up in the fall. Keep them intact but place the bulbs in the refrigerator for eight weeks.
This will create an artificial dormancy for your bulbs. You can then plant them in the late winter and come spring you will have a rainbow of color in your garden.
How long do hyacinth bulbs take to grow?
Hyacinth bulbs should be planted in the fall and come early spring, they will bloom. You can then leave the bulbs in the ground and every spring they will pop up again on their own.
Hyacinths come in a wide range of colors and they are a lovely sight in the springtime. Plant your bulbs in the fall, before the ground freezes, and they will pop up as if by magic.