Caring for hyacinths

Hyacinths are very popular bulbous plants among gardening and plant lovers for their beautiful floral formations, which also give off a very characteristic and appreciated perfume. For this reason, it is very common to see it in homes and in public places and, above all, in outdoor areas.

It is a genus of plants that need certain care, but that can be grown both indoors and outdoors, although with different conditions. If you want to learn more about how to care for hyacinths, join us in this article where you will find a very complete guide on caring for hyacinths .

Hyacinths: characteristics

Here we describe the main characteristics of hyacinths :

  • Scientific name: Hyacinthus spp . Also, there are many colors, such as blue hyacinths, white hyacinths, purples, pinks, fuchsias, and yellows.
  • Family: Liliaceae.
  • It is a bulb plant.
  • It is cultivable indoors and outdoors.
  • It blooms in spring, but can be forced at other times.

Care of hyacinths - Hyacinths: characteristics

When to plant hyacinths

The best time to plant hyacinth bulbs will largely depend on the type of bulb we have and where we want to plant it. Hyacinths are naturally outdoor plants that are planted in the fall to bloom in the spring, as these plants need a few weeks of cold weather to flower. In mild climates hyacinths can also be planted in early winter .

It is highly recommended to use some fungicide on the bulbs when planting them to avoid problems given the high humidity they need. In the same way, it is not recommended to keep the plant more than a year in the same location because it depletes the soil nutrients a lot, unless fertilizer is added.

Indoors, the bulbs can also be planted in autumn, although the availability of forced bulbs, treated to flower in autumn and winter, makes the season very extended. These forced bulbs, however, will need to be treated again or moved to the garden after the first flowering.

Hyacinth Care - When to Plant Hyacinths

Are hyacinths sun or shade?

There is no absolute answer to this question, as it largely depends on what we are looking for. If we place the hyacinths in a very bright location, their pretty flowers will open right away, but they don’t last long. One way to prolong the life of the flower is to locate the hyacinth in a cool place without much light. In this way, its flowers will open more gradually, significantly extending their life.

This, however, is only applicable if we have the plant indoors. Outdoors the hyacinth will have a stable location , so it will need good lighting to be able to produce its flowers and be healthy.

How hyacinths are watered

How much watering does the hyacinth need? These plants need a high degree of humidity and, in fact, during the flowering season they need their soil or substrate to be constantly humid , although always without flooding . In addition, if you wonder how to care for potted hyacinths , watering is really important because you have to be very careful with their balance and keep in mind that it is easier for the substrate to flood. It is common to place their pots on a plate with waterto help maintain stable humidity levels, but do not leave the base of the pot in direct contact with water, at most 10 minutes, and it is better to place a support or some stones to support the pot and that it is close to the water but allowing the irrigation drainage to be done from above. Otherwise, fungus will appear and the bulb could rot very easily. 

It is also common to see hyacinths planted solely in a container of water. The bulb is placed so that it is partially submerged, about a third of its size, and it does not take long to take root and sprout.

Hyacinth care - How hyacinths are watered

Substrate and compost for hyacinths

Like many flowering plants, hyacinths are quite demanding when it comes to nutrient levels. They need a soil rich in organic matter , for which you can use worm castings or compost . It is also important to achieve a good level of drainage , which supports the constant humidity that the plant needs, so it is convenient to use a combined substrate. 

When they start to sprout, they will appreciate the contribution of fertilizer, which will be even more necessary if the plant has been in its location for more than a season. One rich in potassium will be very grateful for the plant. 

Hyacinth care - Substrate and compost for hyacinths

Naturalize the hyacinth

Another aspect to keep in mind about how to grow hyacinths is that we can choose to try to naturalize the plant . Although it is a bulbous plant, getting it to survive the season to give us flowers in the following years may not be so easy with hyacinth.

In order to keep the plant alive, it will need to be transplanted after flowering . You will need a larger container with a substrate rich in organic matter or be taken directly outside, to a sunny location. There, we will not cut its leaves until they become too yellow or damaged, thus avoiding weakening it too much.

Force hyacinth bulbs to bloom in winter

To be able to enjoy the hyacinth flower during the winter it is necessary to force them. This involves recreating cool conditions in summer, after flowering. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Leave the hyacinth bulbs in the refrigerator, wrapped in paper, for six weeks.
  2. Plant them in a pot with a very light substrate and at a shallow depth.
  3. Leave them in a cool, dark location for an additional eight weeks.
  4. Take them another week to another place, still in the dark but at a temperature around 18ºC until the flower spike begins to appear.
  5. At this time you can take them to a place with light to develop.
Hyacinth care - Force hyacinth bulbs to bloom in winter

When do hyacinths bloom

A common question among those who want this beautiful plant for the decoration and smell that its flowers provide and who acquire it to plant from the bulb without it having yet bloomed is precisely knowing when the hyacinth blooms.

Hyacinths flower naturally in spring , resulting in a spectacular and very fragrant but also brief bloom. However, as we have just explained above, it is common to use the forcing technique with these bulbs, in order to scale their blooms and be able to enjoy them during the cold months as well. Another very frequent question in relation to this stage is what to do with the hyacinths after flowering, but we will solve it below.

Hyacinths Care - When Hyacinths Bloom

How to preserve hyacinth bulbs

What to do with hyacinth bulbs after flowering? Your climate may not be suitable for leaving the bulb planted all summer. In this case, you will need to keep them at home. To keep the plant alive for all possible seasons, follow these steps to preserve hyacinth bulbs :

  1. Cut the flower stem as soon as the flower wilts and leave the leaves until they are completely dry, at which point you can cut the bulb at ground level.
  2. Clean it from dirt carefully, paying close attention not to leave any residue of any kind.
  3. Store them in a box with dry sand in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated room.
  4. Leave them with the apex facing up.
  5. Keep them like this until the arrival of autumn, when you can replant them.

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