Hyacinth bulbs are generally on sale at retailers from late summer to autumn.
When you plant your hyacinth bulbs depends on which type you buy.
Most hyacinths are offered as two types. Bulbs that will flower in the spring, and one’s that have prepared so that they flower at Christmas or just after.
This type of hyacinth has been specially treated with heat to give it a head start so that it blooms earlier.
Hyacinths that have been prepared for a Christmas display need to be planted in September so they have time to develop adequate shoots and roots.
Bulbs that flower in spring should be planted in early autumn along with with the rest of your spring-flowering bulbs.
Where To Plant Hyacinths
Hyacinths will thrive in a border or a pot. You may wish to plant them close to a path or an external door to appreciate the distinctive perfume that they give off.
If your bulbs are going to remain in the same spot of your garden for a few years then they need to be planted in full sun and well-drained soil.
Hyacinths will tolerate partial shade for a one-off display, but the flowers won’t be as good the following year if left in this spot of your garden.
How To Plant Hyacinth Bulbs
Planting In The Ground
Plant your hyacinth bulbs with their noses held high and 4 inches (10cm) deep.
Hyacinth bulbs need a minimum gap of 3 inches (7.5cm) between them.
Planting In Pots
For a bold display plant at least 3 to 5 bulbs in a pot using a peat-free multi-purpose compost, you can also mix in some perlite to improve drainage.
Plant your hyacinth bulbs the same depth and width apart as if you were planting in a border, 4 inches (10cm) deep, and a 3 inch (7.5cm) gap between them.
After planting your bulbs, water them in well.
Keep your hyacinths moist whilst they are growing and flowering. Reduce watering when the foliage begins to die off naturally.
For bulbs planted in a border use a general-purpose liquid feed in late February to encourage the bulbs to flower well in the spring.
Hyacinths in pots will benefit from a high-potassium liquid feed such as tomato food, feed from early spring until six weeks after flowering has finished.
Hyacinth blooms are often so large that they flop over. Carefully insert a pea stick into the soil next to the bulb and secure using garden twine.
Cut the flower stalk off at the base when the blooms fade.
Once all the foliage has died back you can lift the bulbs.
Clean off the soil and store in a cool dry place until replating in the early autumn.
If you have soil that drains well you can leave the bulbs in the ground.
You may need to protect your bulbs from squirrels if they are a problem in your garden.
Slugs can be a problem to hyacinths in mild weather.
If any bulbs show any sign of disease it should be discarded to prevent it from spreading.
Are Hyacinths Hardy?
Hyacinths are fully hardy if planted in the ground, but can be frost tender in pots if we have a harsh winter.
Why Are My Hyacinths Not Flowering?
Like most spring bulbs the most common reason for hyacinths not flowering is an impatient gardener.
They remove the foliage too prematurely the previous year, not giving the plant enough time to replenish its energy reserves to produce the following year’s flowers.
Why Are My Hyacinth Flowers Smaller This Year?
Bulb and flower quality usually decline in the year following planting.
This is because the spectacular flowers of freshly planted bulbs are due to the fertile conditions of which they are grown under, and the post-harvest treatment which induces dense spikes of large flowers to be produced.
If you want top-grade flowers every year then you need to replace your bulbs annually.
Or an alternative is to leave your bulbs in the ground and then add a few new bulbs each autumn to keep your display looking tip-top with an array of small and large blooms together.