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Growing Hyacinths

HyacinthsPlanting Time:  Anytime between February to April/ May

Flowering Season: Spring, August to September

Climatic suitability: Hyacinths are best grown in regions which experience winter frosts. However you can easily grow them in warmer areas by pre-chilling. Place the bulbs in paper bags in your fridges’ vegetable crisper (for 6 to 8 weeks) before planting. In warmer areas you may need to lift the bulbs before the summer heat. Another alternative to lifting bulbs is to grow them in pots which you can then move to a cooler sheltered position.

Sun requirements: Part Shade/full sun. Be careful to plant in garden beds that don’t bake in summer.

Planting depth: 10 to 15 centimetres

pH level: 6.5 to 7.5 (Around neutral)

Fertilising: Use a complete fertiliser or blood & bone at planting. Potassium Sulphate after flowering.

Plant Spacing: 10 to 15 centimetres.

Bed selection: Fertile with good drainage.

Watering: Water in during planting and keep the soil moist in warm weather/low rainfall.

Growing in containers: Hyacinths are great for growing indoors in containers, provided you store them in a cool/dark place for 6-8 weeks after planting. Use a container deep enough to plant at the required depth (10-15cm). Keep the soil moist. This is to ensure good root growth. Then slowly introduce the container to light but still in a reasonably cool position.

Growing in a vase: Hyacinths can be grown in an hourglass shaped vase. Fill the vase with water, up to just below the bulb (about 5mm). Be careful not to let the water touch the bulb as it will rot.

Place the bulb in a dark room (you can also cover it to ensure darkness) for 3-5 days. The bulb will root into the water and will start to shoot. Top up the water when the water level drops.

Slowly introduce the vase to the light over a number of days. If you expose it to heat/light too quickly it will produce elongated leaves. Eventually you can move the vase to a sunny windowsill.. Eventually after flowering you can plant the bulb outside for flowering in the next season.

After flowering: Cut off the dead flowers and leave on foliage. Keep watering until the leaves begin to yellow. The bulb can be left in the ground for the next season. Of course in warmer areas you may need to lift the bulbs before the summer heat.

Lifting & Storage:

  • In cooler areas you may not need to dig until the bed gets too crowded.
  • If you live in a part of Australia with wet/hot summers you may need to lift the bulbs each year.
  • Wait until the foliage has died down.
  • Lift the bulb gently with a spade.
  • Dust off the soil and allow the bulb to dry off.
  • Inspect the bulbs for rot and insect damage.
  • Store in a cool, dark and dry area with adequate airflow. There are many ways to store them such as in paper bags that can then be hung up or on trays.