Planting Instructions for Hyacinths
Flower colour: red, pink, orange, salmon, yellow, purple, white and blue
Flowering period: early/mid season
Average plant height: 25 cm
Planting depth to base of bulb: 20 cm
Spacing between bulbs: 15 cm
Light requirements: full sun to partial shade
Landscape uses: beds and borders
Hyacinths require a well-drained soil. If they must be planted in heavy soil, it would be a good idea to mix some sharp sand into the soil. Hyacinths like a sunny location but since the bulbs are frequently treated as annual plants (meaning that the bulbs do not have to recover for another season's flowering) they can also be planted in spots that are somewhat more shady. An advantage here is that their flowers will last longer than they would in the hot sun. The number of florets on the flower stalk depends on the size of the bulb. Large bulbs can produce 60 to 70 florets. For garden planting, however, such bulbs are less suitable because the flower stalks become top-heavy and fall over easily. Sizes 15-16 and 16-17 are best for garden planting. The large sizes, though, are eagerly sought for indoor forcing. Even though hyacinth bulbs are usually used only once, sometimes it is worthwhile to leave them in the ground for a year or two. When they bloom again, their flower clusters may be a bit smaller than in the first blooming season. To allow for good growing conditions, the plants must be given the opportunity to wither back completely.
Hyacinths have a delightful fragrance - a
characteristic that has been a determining factor in
its success as a garden plant and a houseplant.
This scent is usually described as rich or heavy.
Other spring-flowering bulbous plants that have
delightful scents are Crocus laevigatus, snow-
drops(!), snowflakes, and a whole series of narcissi.
One of these, ‘Paperwhite’, is the most attractive as
a houseplant. Besides this one, ‘Cragford’ and
‘Geranium’ (both of which are Tazetta daffodils) and
various cultivars from the Triandrus Group
(‘Angel Tears’) smell delightful.
Crown imperials, grape hyacinths, Iris reticulata, Spanish bluebells, and even certain tulip varieties (the single early, yellow ‘Bellona’) have scents that are not to be sneezed at.
Most significant cultivars:
About 100 cultivars are cultivated, but fewer than 25 of these individual cultivars represent 90% of the total world production.
Hyacinths are often used in small groups of 3 to 5 bulbs of one cultivar, or are planted in larger groups or in beds using either solid or mixed colours.