What should I be doing in the Garden this month?
Hyacinths can be grown to perfection without any difficulty provided some basic rules are followed. The first essential is to develop a good root system as this has to support the plant throughout its life. This is achieved by a cool temperature and even moisture in the early stages after planting.
Plant Hyacinths in the Autumn in a well cultivated, well drained soil. They should be placed about 10cm (4") deep and 5-8cm (2-3") apart. As the Hyacinths emerge in the Spring some varieties may require staking to prevent the from flopping over in heavy rain. The stake should be inserted along the stem and pierced straight into the bulb. Tie to the stem just below the flower head.
Hyacinths in Containers and Pots
Hyacinths do equally well planted in pots and containers but it is essential to plant the bulbs in good quality soil. Choose a sunny spot but remember it is essential during dry periods in the growing season that they are sufficiently watered. If not the results will be stunted and shrivelled flower heads.
How to grow Christmas Hyacinths
Specially prepared hyacinth bulbs can be easily forced indoors. These bulbs, with their wonderful scent can fill your home with a bright pop of colour during the holiday season. Christmas flowering Hyacinths should never be purchased before September, as they need to undergo temperature and humidity treatment to allow the flower bud to advance to the levels needed. The process of forcing these bulbs, to guarantee Christmas flowering, is simple provided you follow the instructions below.
- The first job is to prepare your bowl or container by filling to the rim with a good quality bulb fibre. Make sure this is well watered, which will avoid the need to water before bringing indoors at the beginning of December. Hyacinths require a moist soil, as if they become too dry the flower spike will be stunted.
- Bulbs should be planted into the container so that the top quarter is visible above the soil line. Potting should not be too firm, otherwise there is a tendency for the bulbs to push themselves out of the compost as they form their roots.
- The bowls should then be moved into a cold frame or against a north facing sheltered wall and covered with soil. At this stage our only concern is to encourage good root growth which is necessary before any attempt at forcing is made. Alternatively, they can be placed in a dark place such as a cellar or a cupboard but make sure they do not dry out.
- On or around the first of December it is time to begin the slow forcing process. The container of hyacinths should be removed and placed in a dark room with a temperature of approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The bulbs should be left like this until the flower is well out of the neck of bulb. This usually takes 1-2 days.
- The bulbs can then be moved to a sunny position and allowed to flower normally. During this time it is important to ensure that the bulbs receive plenty of moisture.