Name: hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis).
Height: 30–40cm, depending on variety.
Foliage: elongated or linear, mid-green, soft/sappy from onion-like bulb.
Climate: temperate to cool temperate; needs cold winter to initiate growth and flowers.
Soil: well-drained loam with added organic matter.
Position: full sun.
Flowering: sturdy stems of densely packed, fleshy flowers; colours from pure white to deep crimson.
Feeding: use a long-term controlled-release fertiliser in soil preparation; feed again after flowers finish.
Watering: don't overwater; winter rain is usually adequate until leaves appear, then keep moist, but not wet.
Hyacinth grows from bulbs planted in autumn. Leaves are deep green and strappy, while flowers are carried on sturdy stems usually well clear of the leaves. The densely packed blooms range in colour from blue through white to deep pink. Mass-planted, they create stunning displays and are notable for their strong fragrance.
Bulbs should be planted into the garden or set into pots in autumn, before the first frost. They prefer a bright, sunny position, well-drained soil and a cool to mild climate – they won’t do well in warm climates that don’t experience a true winter.
Safety tip: Be sure to wear gloves when handling the bulbs as they are toxic and can cause skin irritation.
Hyacinth bulbs can also be grown in a specially designed bulb “vase”.
Like other bulbs, hyacinth uses the food reserves in the bulb to produce its leaves and flowers. It is not necessary to add bulb food to the soil during preparation.
The time to feed bulbs is after flowering and before the leaves die down. During this period, new bulbs are developing under the soil for the following year, and this process requires plenty of available food.
When flowers are fading, apply a quality slow- or controlled-release fertiliser for flowering plants, as directed on the label, to bulbs in the garden and in pots.
From planting until shoots appear, hyacinth bulbs don’t like too much moisture. Usually winter rainfall is adequate, but if the season is extremely dry, you may need to water every two or three weeks.
Hyacinth prefers to be lifted and replanted each year. After the leaves have died off, carefully lift the bulbs from the soil or take them out of the pot, clean them up and allow them to dry out of the sun for a few days. Once dry, spread them in a single layer on a tray and store them in a cool, airy spot until it's time to plant them again.
Generally, it is a good idea to discard all your hyacinth bulbs after their second year and replace them with fresh ones. Over a couple of years, flower quality and quantity will decline.
Hyacinths are reasonably pest and disease free. Their biggest enemy is wet soil, which could cause them to rot.
Lilies: tall-growing bulbs with showy flowers, from pure white and pink to orange.
Daffodils: golden trumpet-shaped flowers and grey-green strappy leaves; true harbingers of spring.
Tulips: showy spring-flowering bulbs, usually in shades of white, red or yellow, and often with a dark centre.
Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing.
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