Do you love a spring flower garden full of color? Learn how to plant hyacinth bulbs for a beautiful and colorful addition to your spring garden.
Hyacinths are one of my very favorite spring bulb flowers- mostly due to their scent. It’s just the best fragrance ever!
They come in all sorts of colors- pink, blue, white, lilac, and more. Each bulb will produce one flower stalk full of flowers.
You can fill your house border with them, naturalize them in your yard, or plant a whole bed full for a huge array of coloring the spring. You can even plant them in pots and planters or bring them indoors!
With a little planning, you can have a beautiful show of hyacinths in your garden or yard in no time. Here’s what you need to know about how to plant hyacinth bulbs to have an amazing show of blooms in the spring.
How to Plant Hyacinth Bulbs: Step By Step
Hyacinth are one of the first flowers you start to see in the spring, but you don’t actually plant hyacinth bulbs in the spring! Keep reading to learn when and how to plant hyacinth bulbs.
When to Plant Hyacinth Bulbs
Growing hyacinth bulbs starts in the fall before you want them to bloom. This is the key to ensuring your hyacinths flower in all their beauty during spring.
Hyacinth bulbs should be planted in mid to late fall, about 6 weeks before your area starts getting hard frosts.
Planting the fall is important because the bulbs need a long period of cool temperatures to start the biochemical process that causes them to flower. they need temperatures below 40F for at least 12 weeks to bloom in the spring.
They also need plenty of time before the ground freezes to develop strong roots.
Where to Plant Hyacinth Bulbs
When planting your hyacinth bulbs, be sure to choose a sunny spot that provides plenty of direct sun throughout the day. They will need at least 6 hours of sunlight each day once they start growing.
Sun gives your bulbs all the nutrients it needs in order to thrive and create a vivid display of flowery beauty.
It’s also important that the soil where you plant your hyacinth bulbs drains well, so choose an area with no standing water or pooling. Hyacinths do NOT like to be wet so only water if it’s very dry.
If your soil is very heavy, you may need to line the holes with rock or mix in some sand or other organic material to lighten it up a little before planting your hyacinth bulbs.
Hyacinths also do well in planters and containers. You can even force them to bloom indoors!
Hyacinth Planting Depth and Spacing
To ensure your hyacinths thrive and bloom, make sure to plant them at the correct depth.
A good rule of thumb is to plant the hyacinth bulbs in a hole that is 2 times as deep as the bulb’s height. This should be approximately 4-8 inches deep, depending on the size of your bulbs.
This depth protects the bulbs from things like squirrels, pests, and frost.
You can even get special bulb planting tools that help plant at the exact depth required for the bulbs you’re planting.
If you are planting a whole bed of hyacinth bulbs, space the bulbs about 3 inches apart. You can do a little bit less for grape hyacinths, and further apart for large hyacinth varieties.
If you are planting in a container, you can do a little bit closer together as well- but no less than 2 inches in between bulbs.
How to Plant Hyacinth Bulbs
One of the most important steps in planting hyacinths bulbs is planting the bulb in the correct direction.
When planting the bulbs, be sure to pay attention to direction: place them in the soil with the pointed end facing up.
Doing this will ensure that when the bulb starts growing, the stem will reach the sunlight before running out of energy.
Sometimes you might come across a bulb that’s hard to tell which end is pointy. If that happens, take your best guess. Oftentimes the bulb will right themselves as they grow anyway!
Once you’ve got the bulbs in their holes, cover them with soil and top dress with compost. Make sure you don’t leave any part of the bulb exposed or it will dry out.
Then water them well, to encourage them to start putting out roots right away.
If the fall is very dry, you might need to water your bulbs weekly. Once the temperatures have dropped to frost level, you can stop watering until spring.
How to Force Hyacinth Bulbs to Bloom Indoors
To force bulbs to bloom indoors, plant the bulbs with the tip of the bulb still showing above the soil level. You can also suspend the bulb in a glass of water so the bulb is just touching the water.
Keep the plant in a cool dark location (between 32-45°F) until roots develop. You can do this in a basement, insulated garage, cold frame, or enclosed porch.
It might take about 10 weeks for roots to develop.
When the bulb puts up a shoot you can bring the plant out into the indirect light.
Water the bulbs gently if they are in soil. Make sure the soil is not too wet.
Enjoy Your Beautiful Hyacinths!
Growing hyacinths from bulbs is a rewarding experience, and when they bloom they will add so much color (and fragrance!) to your garden and yard!
You should see signs of growth in late winter and early spring as the weather begins to warm.
When you see leaves begin to emerge, you can add compost or fertilizer to your hyacinths to help them grow strong stems and blooms.
Don’t worry about frost, hyacinths are used to cold temperatures and their leaves and stems can withstand frost. If they have already bloomed and you are expected a hard frost, you may choose to cut the stems and bring them inside to enjoy.
Caring for Hyacinths After Blooming
Once your hyacinth blooms begin to fade, you can snip off the flower head, but leave the stems and leaves.
Allow the leaves and stems to remain on the plants for at least 6 weeks after flowering. Their foliage helps them gather food and energy for the following year.
After the leaves turn yellow and die back, you can cut it, or mow it over.
Growing Hyacinth from Bulbs FAQ
Are hyacinths perennials?
Yes, hyacinths are perennials. They will come back year after year, though I find that the blooms aren’t as tight after the first year. Fertilizing can help them produce better blooms.
What if I forgot to plant in the fall. Can I plant hyacinths in the spring?
Try forcing them to grow indoors. Then you can transplant outside once the ground is workable. Or you can plant them now- bulbs always do better in the ground than out.
How many hyacinths can you plant together?
Too many bulbs in one place can cause crowding and root constriction. Planting your bulbs at about 2-3 inches apart can give you a nice, full bed of blooms.
What’s the difference between hyacinths and grape hyacinths?
Grape hyacinths are not true hyacinths and they are not directly related. They are only called that because they have a similar, although smaller, look. They have similar growing needs and bloom around the same time.
Planting hyacinth bulbs in the fall is the best way to get huge blooms come spring. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful hyacinths in no time. Happy planting!
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