Growing Hyacinth Bulbs: How to Care for Them

If you are looking for enchanting flowers to grow in your home garden, hyacinth bulbs should be on the list.

This bulb is not only popular for its gorgeous appearance but also for its amusing fragrance that attracts more pollinators to your garden.

Planting this bulb is pretty simple, so it makes a great choice for beginner gardeners and someone who wants to feel prized without too much effort.


How to Identify Hyacinth Bulbs

Divide tear-drop-shaped, golf ball-sized bulbs into two piles, depending on their outer paper-like skin. Those bulbs with a single sheet of smooth brown skin are tulips. Those with several layers of purple, reddish, bluish or cream-color papery skin are hyacinths.
Identify Hyacinth Bulbs

You can expect this bulb to appear before tulips or after crocus, offering a mixture of classic charm and engaging scent.

This bulb’s appearance becomes part of the New Year celebrations in Persia and its signature scent has even been utilized in French perfume.

In your garden, hyacinth will become a hint that spring has been around the corner and lets you know that the colorful blossom displays are getting ready to welcome everyone.

When planning to grow hyacinths in the garden, you have some varieties to choose such as grape hyacinths, water hyacinths, and Muscari hyacinths.

How to Plant Hyacinth Bulbs in Your Garden

Plant hyacinth bulbs 4 to 6” deep and 5 to 6” apart on center. You may plant the bulbs individually or dig out a larger area and plant 5 or more bulbs at the same time. Position the bulbs with the pointy end up and then cover them with soil.
Planting Hyacinth Bulbs

Look for fat, big bulbs that have no symptoms of decay and disease. Then, plant them minimally 3 to 4 times as deep as their height.

To plant hyacinth, identify the wiry roots of the bulb first and then face it downward, so the pointed side faces upward.

Do not forget to water the hyacinth well after planting, so the soil above it settles.

If you wonder when to plant hyacinth bulbs, the answer is in fall (around September to October) so that the bulb can wake up from its dormant period when it experiences winter temperatures.

Growing Hyacinth for The Best Result

Besides, you should also follow the below requirements to get the best result when growing hyacinth in your garden.

  • Find a spot where you can expose your flower bulbs to sunlight for at least six hours each day.
    Although you can enjoy their blooms in partial shade, the flowers will perform the best in full sun.
  • Make sure to clear the ground of weeds and apply decayed organic manure, fertilizer, or composted green waste into the soil.
    This can help the soil quality to have more nutrients and drain well.
  • Make sure that you give the bulbs enough soil above them (minimally twice their height). The depth of the hole to plant them must be around 6 to 8 inches.
  • If you plant the hyacinth in beds, give about 3 inches of spacing between one bulb and another. When growing it in pots, it is acceptable to space the bulbs a bit closer together.
  • Refrain from walking on of the bulbs after planting since this may damage the developing tips of your hyacinth.
  • Do not forget to wear gloves before planting the hyacinth since the bulb may cause skin irritation.

Once the blooms of the bulbs die down, the plant will enjoy a warmer rest stage. At this point, there is no need to water it too much.

Instead, you can start tidying up the hyacinth plants and get rid of their old foliages.

Common Issues with Hyacinth

Although this tiny bulb requires little care in general, it does not mean that you can waive any problem that may affect your hyacinth.

Aphids, bulb mites, mosaic virus, and narcissus bulb fly are among the primary enemies of this sweet flower.

You can check the details of each possible problem and how to tackle it below.

  • Mosaic Virus

Hyacinths infected with hyacinth mosaic virus (HMV) show mottling on the leaves, especially on the basal parts.
Hyacinth Bulbs Mosaic Virus

This virus can weaken your hyacinth and make the color of their flower petals dotted. It may spread through aphids that have any contact with previously affected plants.

To prevent the damage, you should sterilize your gardening tools and equipment regularly, especially ones utilized for cutting blooms.

Use a mix of hot water and any household bleach product to sterilize the tools to avoid future infection.

Meanwhile, you need to control the infestation of aphids in your hyacinth if they present as well. You can use organic sprays or simply get rid of these pests by hand and knock them into soapy water.

  • Bulb Nematodes

Discard any bulbs that feel soft. This virus disease causes flower petal color to become streaked. It weakens the hyacinth plant.
Hyacinth Bulbs Nematodes

These slender roundworms sometimes destroy hyacinth bulbs as well, affecting the root system of your beloved plants.

With their piercing-sucking mouthparts, bulb nematodes consume plant cells and make the infested hyacinths look wilted and stunted.

If you do not take any action, your hyacinth will gradually decline and die because the nematodes cut down the necessary nutrients.

To deal with the nematode issue, you must dig up and discard the affected hyacinth.

Then, introduce lots of compost to the soil to support the existence of beneficial fungi that bother nematodes.

  • Rodent Injury and Other Issues

There are several ways to protect your bulbs from rodent damage. All of them can be broken down into two categories: barriers or repellents.
Hyacinth Bulbs Rodent Injury

Throughout winter, small rodents like mice feed on bulbs. You can line your planting holes with tiny containers or plant your hyacinth in individual tin cans.

You can also install one-inch wire mesh over the bulbs to deter chipmunks and squirrels that often dig up hyacinths.

Other hyacinth common problems include frost injury and bulb mites as well. Basal rot is also a familiar fungus disease that attacks hyacinths.

Bulb mites, for example, can make the infested hyacinths get hard and turn their color into light chocolate-brown.

If your hyacinth bulbs experience late spring frosts, they may have tiny brown spots that become blotches gradually.

To prevent this frost injury, you should spread a 2-inch mulch layer over the bulbs immediately once the ground freezes.

Best Hyacinth Bulbs Care Tips for Outdoor Growing

In good soil, these sweet flowers need little care. Water after installation if no precipitation is expected.
Hyacinth Bulbs Care Outdoors

Once planted in the garden, hyacinth typically does not require further care until flowering since nature will perform the necessary chilling condition for the bulb to bloom when the temperatures go up.

However, you may need to apply a 5-5-10 slow release plant food if the soil does not acquire sufficient nutrients.

Similar to many other bulb varieties, hyacinth is also prone to waterlogged soil. When this occurs, the bulb will be prey to rot.

To prevent this problem, you should do a drainage test by digging a trench and filling it with water. Then, watch how long it takes to drain.

How to Care for Hyacinth Indoors

Fill the bulb pot about halfway with potting soil, and place each bulb with the pointy side up and root side down in the soil.
Hyacinth Bulbs Care Indoors

Hyacinth also makes a stunning container plant thanks to its compact nature. Besides, it allows you to appreciate their beauty and sweet scent anywhere when growing the bulb in a pot.

You can utilize any fertilizer to plant hyacinths in pots. If you want to enjoy the flowers shortly, take advantage of the multi-purpose variant.

To make it last longer, apply a soil-based fertilizer to feed the bulb. Early spring fertilization with some slow-release bulb product can nourish your hyacinth for the next year’s flowers.

Tips for Growing Hyacinth Indoors

Besides, you can perform the following hyacinth bulbs caring tips when growing them indoors.

  • For a one-time bloom and a more outstanding visual impact, you can grow the bulb closer than normal from one to another (give around 2 inches space only).
  • Fill the undersides of your containers with rocks if the pots come with drainage holes.
  • This can enhance the elimination of surplus water so that the plant and its roots are safe from overwatering conditions.
  • You can use any great potting medium to plant your hyacinth. Soil mixed with coarse sand or alike materials will work too.
  • Make sure to situate your pots on “feet” to ensure the water drain away properly and prevent root rot.
  • If your region is colder than 26 degrees Fahrenheit, consider leaving your pots of hyacinth outside.

After 2 to 3 months of flowering, your hyacinth bulbs will start to be inactive. You should expect their blossoms to die and the leaves wither eventually.

Cut the whole flower stalk off once most of the blossoms are brown. In this case, the leaves will remain green and you should leave them to die naturally.

Make sure not to bend or break the foliage since this can stop the hyacinth from saving the required energy for its upcoming blooming cycle.

Get a good indoor plant fertilizer to feed your hyacinth. Thus, it can develop more energy during the rest period.

However, you should refrain from overwatering the hyacinth since this plant is prone to bulb rot.

Things to Do with Indoor Hyacinth after Flowering

After your hyacinths have finished flowering, remove the blooms, but don't remove the foliage. The bulbs need their leaves to gather energy for next year's blooms.
After Hyacinths Flowering

Once the leaves get brown and die accordingly, you can cut the whole plant to soil level, leaving the roots and bulb stay in the ground.

Then, relocate your pot of hyacinth to a colder, dark spot. It is advisable to apply a black garbage bag or paper grocery over the container to block the light.

Leave your hyacinth pots there until the spring. You can start to expose them to light once the season comes and see the plant begin to show new shoots.

Keep in mind that hyacinth bulbs spread by realizing daughter shoots. Therefore, they will take much more space from year to year.

If your container is just enough this year, consider relocating the hyacinth plant to a larger pot when it is still inactive.

Alternatively, you can plant your hyacinth outside in the garden so that it has more space to grow.

In conclusion, growing hyacinth bulbs either indoors or outdoors is pretty straightforward, so you should not hesitate to start planting this beautiful bloom right now!

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