How to plant hyacinth bulbs

Hyacinths are a popular bulb choice, particularly around the Christmas period, and for good reason to. They are highly fragrant, available in a range of colours and are super easy to grow. In your local plant retailers they are predominately sold as a prepared bulb, ready to sprout into a seasonal 'houseplant', before being thrown away once they blooms are over. However Hyacinths will also create a great spring display so long as you follow a few cultivation rules. So the question is this, how do you plant Hyacinth bulbs?

Native to the eastern Mediterranean, Hyacinth bulbs have evolved in an area which experience mild to cool, rainy winters and warm to hot, dry summers. So to get the best flowering display you will need to mimic this environment as best as you can in you own garden.

How to plant hyacinth bulbs
The best time to plant Hyacinth bulbs is mid to late autumn, preferably after the first frosts but significantly before the ground freezes, if that indeed happens where you live. But let's be honest, most gardeners tend to buy them when they see them so in my book just plant them as soon as possible to avoid the bulb from drying out.

To get your bulbs to produce the biggest, most colourful blooms you must provide them with a well-drained, fertile soil, in full sun. If it is possible provide them with a site which receives full sun all day long, it makes such a difference.

Before planting, clear the site of weeds, including removing the rots of perennial weeds. Then before placing the bulbs incorporate organic matter like well-rotted farm manure, bone meal or fish blood and bone and mix well into the sol below where the Hyacinths will be sited. Unlike forced bulbs which have their growth tips above the soil line, plant outdoor hyacinth bulbs 4 inches deep and 3 inches apart. Just keep an eye on drainage as you don't want the bulbs to become waterlogged over the winter as this can cause fungal rots to take hold. To help avoid this you can mixing horticultural grit below where the bulb is to be planted or in poorly drained soils consider creating a raised area of soil and planting into that.

If large year on year blooms are  important to you, remove the spent booms to avoid the bulbs directing energy to produce seeds. Also provide a weekly liquid soluble plant fertiliser such as Miracle-grow as the foliage begins to die back.

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