Planting Hyacinths For Indoor Flowering

Upon receipt prepared hyacinths should be planted, three to a bowl or one to a small pot. Both methods find a ready sale when in bloom and both have their uses in the home. Where growing commercially, the pots and bowls should be obtained from a wholesale sundries firm and buying per dozen or gross will prove economical. Wholesale and a pot about the same price. Allowance must be made for heating, compost preparation. Hyacinths enjoy some sand wherever they are planted and a fairly moist soil.

Quite unlike the freesia they must never be allowed to suffer from a too dry condition or the flower spike will be stunted. Bulb fibre can be used with satisfactory results, but as with all bulbs, where it is possible to make up a compost to the bulb’s requirements, better results are obtained. A light loamy soil with which has been incorporated some coarse sand and moist peat in equal proportions will prove ideal. It is important where planting hyacinths to have the peat thoroughly moist before mixing, as dry peat is extremely difficult to bring into a thoroughly moist condition and if too dry the peat will take up moisture from the soil needed by the bulbs. Planting Hyacinths For Indoor Flowering

The bulbs also appreciate an eggcupful of bone meal worked into the compost to a larger bowl but this is not essential. Potting should not be too firm or there will be a tendency for the bulbs to push themselves out of the pots as they form their dense rooting system. The bulbs should be so planted, that just their tops are showing above the soil. As a general rule, Roman hyacinths which reach us from France and are smaller flowering, should be planted about September 1st. As many as five or six bulbs may be planted in the same size bowl that would hold only three Dutch hyacinths.

If the Romans are planted late in August or early September a succession of bloom may be enjoyed from mid-December until early spring, if this first planting is followed by another of the ‘prepared’ Dutch hyacinths later in September, and with yet another planting of forcing-size bulbs early in October. If at this final planting 16-18 cm. Bulbs are also planted these could be grown in a cold-house and would extend the flowering season right into spring. An outside planting, also in October, would carry the display into summer, with, if required, a cloche covering to connect the cold-house blooms with those growing in the open – a six months’ display of the easily grown hyacinth.

When planting is completed the pots should, where possible, be placed under the protection of a wall and covered with either sand or weathered ashes for as long as five weeks. Those living in a flat cannot use this method of root formation and must be content with placing the bowls in a dark cupboard or in any dry place which is quite cool. A cellar is ideal for here the compost will not dry out and the bulbs, like those in the open will require no watering after they have been given a soaking immediately after planting. It is essential with all bulbs and none more so than with hyacinths, that they should form a heavy rooting system before any attempt at forcing. If not either a thin or a stunted spike will result.

Cool conditions while the roots are being formed is essential. Nor will the hyacinth stand up to hard forcing as soon as taken indoors. This must be done gradually. The Romans and the prepared bulbs will be taken indoors at the same time, about November 1st, and they should at first be partially shaded with sacking or brown paper. Some, having knocked the ash from the pots, first place them under the benches of the greenhouse for several days until they become accustomed to the light whilst the house temperature should be no more than 45 ° F. Ventilate thoroughly until the house temperature is gradually stepped up, then give the pots all the light possible and copious amounts of water. Growth will then be rapid, the temperature should be kept at a steady 60 F. and growth will be rapid from the end of November. But never at any time allow the bulbs to suffer from a dry compost. They will require water most days and without splashing the flower spikes they will appreciate some damping down of the floor at midday. Hyacinths grown in the home will not be subject to such a high degree of forcing, but the same rules will apply. When the roots have formed, introduce them gradually to the warmer room temperatures and stronger light. Full exposure to strong light too soon may cause the leaf tips to turn brown and some stunting may result.

Pots should be placed in as bright a position as possible as soon as acclimatized. They will not require such copious amounts of water as where high temperatures are being employed, but never let the soil become dry.

As growth advances and the flower spike makes headway, it will be advisable to strengthen it by means of a wire support, obtained with the pots from any sundriesman. If the plants have been grown as described they will be sturdy and with a compact flower spike and staking may not be necessary unless it appears that the bloom will be extra large. Pots being sent to market should always be wired and should then be packed upright in strong wooden boxes, after having strong white paper tied round pot and blooms to protect them from change of temperatures. The plants should be marketed as soon as the spike has correctly formed and is showing definite colour. Plants which are too fully open will not only damage more easily but will have lost much of their fragrance. Remember also to cover the compost with fresh green moss held in place by wires. This will also enhance the appearance of the bowls in the house.

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