Hyacinth

Hyacinths are one of the most popular of the spring bulbs with their columns of bell-shaped flowers and their heady scent. They are excellent for borders and containers -especially window boxes.

Suitable site and soil. Plant in light well-drained soil and full sun in the garden or containers. For bulbs for early indoor forcing, use specially prepared bulb fibre or compost.

Cultivation and care. Dead-head after flowering.

Propagation. Hyacinths can be grown from seed but the bulbs can take at least three years to reach flowering size.

They can also be propagated by division but this method is not always successful. It is best to buy named varieties as bulbs, which are widely available in stores and garden centres.

Recommended varieties. H. orientalis is the original wild species, but it is the hybrids and varieties that we grow. There are many varieties, all growing to about 15-23cm – 6-9in tall, but some of the best are ‘Delft Blue’ (porcelain blue), ‘City of Haarlem’ (primrose yellow), ‘John Bos’ (rose-red), ‘L’lnno-cence’ (white), ‘Lady Derby’ (shell-pink) and ‘Pink Pearl’ (deep pink). Cynthella hyacinths have smaller, dainty spikes, charming in small beds or window boxes. Multiflora varieties produce several slender stems of loosely spaced flowers.

Pests and diseases. There are a number of fungal and physiological disorders which can affect the bulbs – apparent in poor flowers and leaves – and the bulbs should be discarded.

FORCING HYACINTHS

Buy specially prepared compost moist but not bulbs for early indoor waterlogged. Leave in a flowering and plant in cool, dark place and bowls of bulb fibre or when 5cm – 2in of growth compost in early is showing, move to a autumn. Leave the top ofwindowsill. After the bulb above theflowering, plant the compost and water.

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