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If you were going to experience spring with just one sense - your sense of smell - these are the flowers you’d want most. Hyacinths deliver a rich, sweet fragrance that’s impossible to miss even on raw spring days when the air seems unable to hold any scents other than "cold" and "wet".
Choosing a site in full to 3/4 day sun for straight, well-formed hyacinth flower stems. As with most bulbs, a site with good drainage helps prevent bulb rot.
Look for a site with soil that drains well. Turn in some compost before starting to plant or as you tuck in individual bulbs to provide nutrients. Compost is also great for helping to lighten soil and avoid compaction.
Plant in the fall, from September through November, when the soil has cooled in your area but hasn’t started to freeze. These bulbs sprout roots and develop a network in the cool fall soil; they need a few weeks to do this before the ground freezes down several inches.
Loosen the soil to 10” deep and dig planting holes 6-7” deep. Add a handful or two of compost to the soil you removed. Examine your bulb and find the pointy end. That’s the top where the new sprout will appear. Place the bulb in the hole with the pointy end facing upwards. Fill the hole with soil, pat to eliminate air pockets and water well to settle the soil around the bulb. Plant bulbs 5-6” apart.
Hyacinth need about 1” of water a week from rain, irrigation or a combination of the two during the spring when they are actively growing.
When your hyacinths have finished flowering, feel free to cut off the flower stalks but leave the foliage in place until it yellows. While still green, it is using the sunlight to create food through photosynthesis and nourishing the bulbs for next spring flowering. When the leaves are yellow and twist off easily, feel free to remove them.
Planning to force your bulbs or plant pre-chilled bulbs in winter? Read this! Forcing Bulbs & Pre-Chilled Bulbs
Light: Full to 3/4 day sun
Soil: Average, well drained
Depth: Cover bulb with 6-7" of soil
Water: Average moisture
Uses: Beds, borders and large containers
Tip: Hyacinths are a good choice if squirrels are a problem in your area
They Start Out looking Like This:
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