The hyacinth flower has a lovely scent in spring, and planting their bulbs in autumn gives you an early flower with lots of colors to choose from. Their upright flower stems can also be forced into pots indoors, making lovely indoor displays in late winter.
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Although hyacinths are usually grown by planting bulbs in the fall it’s possible to grow them from seeds. Collect seeds from late spring and put them in a polythene bag in your fridge until the fall, then plant out in pots filled with sieved garden compost or a nutrient-rich seed starting mix. Transplant into the garden in their second year.
To plant bulbs, divide plants that are over three years old by digging up the bulb in early fall. Be careful when using a trowel to dig the plant up, starting a few inches out from the plant so you don’t catch the bulb. Look for smaller bulbs attached to the main plant and carefully separate these and replant.
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Standard flower watering guidelines apply. If hyacinths are planted in pots, make sure there is good drainage, as bulbs will rot if left standing in water.
Hyacinths have a stocky stem and need no support.
To force your bulbs into earlier flowering, plant them in organic bulb fiber in the fall. Then put them into a dark cool place for six weeks. Once their shoots have grown to 1 inch (2.5 cm), bring them into the light.
Hyacinth flowers can be cut, but make sure leaves are left for the bulb to continue to grow for next year’s blooms.
Rather than cutting hyacinths, you may want to plant bulbs in attractive containers for indoor displays. This way you can force bulbs to create early blooms and grow indoor shows that will last much longer.
Hyacinths are usually pest and disease free as long as bulbs are stored in a dry, dark place before planting. Bulbs should feel firm and show no signs of rot or softness.
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Hyacinths (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...
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