Beautiful bulbous spring flowers, Hyacinthus, commonly known as hyacinth, are a genus belonging to the family Hyacinthaceae. Native to the eastern Mediterranean region, the hyacinth is seeped in Greek mythology. It is the believed that Hyacinth, a beautiful youth was the object of affection for both; god Apollo and the West Wind, Zephyr, and was caught between their feud before he was killed. To keep the youth's memory alive, Apollo made a flower from Hyacinth's spilled blood known as 'hyacinth'. If you are keen to have beauty blooming in your yard, bear in mind a few tips mentioned below.
How to Plant Hyacinth Bulbs Indoors
Hyacinth was brought under commercial cultivation since mid 16th century. As they grew in popularity, they caught the home gardener's attention. With easy availability of hyacinth bulbs and different varieties such as single, double, and multiflora, one can enjoy these flowers right at home. These are spring flowers, but can be forced to grow in other climates, like the winter season. Forcing bulbs is a mechanism to induce plant (bulb) growth and flowering not only ahead of its natural schedule, but also out of its natural environment.
Hyacinth, along with crocuses, daffodils, tulips, amaryllis, star-of-Bethlehem, Dutch iris, etc., are perfect for forced growing. Special decorative or fancy containers and pots are available to force the bulbs, that also add to the aesthetic value of the flower. Forced ones should be planted in September for a bloom in December for winter flowering, around mid-October for February flowering, and in mid-November for spring flowering in March and April.
Forcing Hyacinth Bulbs in Soil: For planting a couple of bulbs, choose a four to five inch pot, but for several ones, large, ten inch pots would be ideal. One can also grow a single very large bulb in just one small pot. The pot should be shallow. There should be a good number of drainage holes in the bottom. Fill the pot two-thirds full with potting mix made of equal parts potting soil, peat moss, and perlite. Position the bulb half way in, and cover with some top soil. Keep the top part of the bulb exposed (grape hyacinth should be completely covered with soil). Water the pot adequately. Stand after watering to allow the excess to drain out. For more than one bulb, space their position an inch apart. After planting leave the pots in a cold, dark place, at a temperature between 35ºF to 55ºF. Continue watering the pot regularly, because they may fail to open if the soil mix becomes dry after it starts growing.
Forcing Hyacinth Bulbs in Water: Hyacinths can be forced in water too, there are specific bulb size glasses or jars. Fill the jar with water only to a point where the bottom of the bulb just touches the water, or stand the bulb on pebbles providing it with support and fill water up to the base. In both ways they should not come in direct contact with the water, else rot will set in the bulb. Move the pots to a sunny location like a window sill at a temperature of 60ºF to 70ºF. Experts do not recommend the use of bulbs forced in water for the next season, because without soil, they are forced to use all their nutrient reserves.
After planting the bulbs indoors, sit back and enjoy their beautiful blooms. After the blooming period is over, allow the plants to grow until the leaves wilt. Store them in a cool dry place for next season.