With its spike-like form and beautiful color, hyacinth flower offers an impressive look in your garden. Imagine having these flowers popping out in your garden during spring! Hyacinths have a sweet fragrance and can attract butterflies. They are also perfect for accentuating a vase arrangement or bouquet.
Are you interested in planting your own hyacinths? Here is the basic guide for successful growing and caring.
Types of Hyacinth Flower
Hyacinth has different flower types depending on the varieties. Some have single flowers, while others have double or even multiple blooms on one flower. The most common varieties include:
Amsterdam has dense, spike-like flower formation with strong fragrance. Typical color is pink. The flowers are rabbit-resistant and deer-resistant.
Roman Hyacinth has single flowers that grow in tight clusters. It is shorter than Amsterdam but no less beautiful. Colors range from brilliant white to pink and purple. It has a soft fragrance and attracts bees.
Atlantic is a variety of single to double-flowered purple hyacinth. It has a strong fragrance and attracts bees.
Another short variety, Apricot Passion has compact flower formations. The colors range from white to peach. The flowers attract bees.
Blue Festival is a popular blue hyacinth variety, although you can also find a purple one. Blue Festival is a single flower variety, which grows in short but noticeable cluster.
The amazing Gypsy Queen has trumpet-like flowers that grow in large clusters. The colors range from peach to coral, salmon, and pink.
You have probably heard or even seen “grape hyacinth”, which is a popular name for Muscari plant. Unlike the true hyacinth, this plant has bulbous flowers with brilliant blue color. Despite the name, grape hyacinth has nothing to do with actual hyacinth. Many people refer to it as bluebell or bluebonnet.
How to Plant Hyacinth in the Garden
Fall is the most ideal time to plant hyacinth, which will give you brilliant spring blooms. You can easily find hyacinth bulbs at garden seed stores, and plant them directly. Here are the steps to plant hyacinth as garden flowers:
Prepare the soil
Hyacinth likes loose, well-drained, but moderately-fertile soil. If you have hard soil, work some compost on it with a hoe.
Plant bulbs properly
Plant the bulb in 3 inches of depth (around 8 cm). If you live in the northern area with a colder climate, plant it in 8 inches of depth (around 20 cm). Each bulb must have 3 inches of space between each other. Make sure the pointy end faces upward and visible above the soil.
Hyacinth bulbs need thorough watering to encourage growth. Water the newly-planted bulbs until the soil is moist, but not flooded.
Wear gloves whenever you handle hyacinth bulbs. They produce oxalic acid that can irritate the skin, especially if you have sensitive or allergic skin.
How to Care for Hyacinth Flower
Hyacinth flower care is easy once the plant is established. Here are general steps of caring for these flowers:
Plant stake on tall varieties
If you plant a tall hyacinth, place a stake behind it to keep the stalk straight. It is better to plant several tall hyacinths in close proximity so that they can support each other.
Water when necessary
Hyacinth bulbs are prone to rot when wet. Make sure you water hyacinth flower when the soil looks dry. You can water less frequently if your area has a lot of rain.
Treat new growth properly
Hyacinth can bloom for three to four years before dying. When the bulbs show new growths (usually every spring), add some bulb feed and water them thoroughly.
To encourage new growths after blooming season, cut back the stalk, but leave the foliage. If you plant hyacinths in the pots, bring them inside during winter to protect them from frost. Alternatively, cover the bulbs with a tarp during winter.
Common Problems of Hyacinth
The main hyacinth problem is rodents, which love munching the bulbs. You can avoid rodents by putting rodent traps or planting daffodils to protect the hyacinths (rodents avoid daffodils). However, there are several other common problems, such as:
Bulb mites appear on damaged bulbs as white, moving clusters. These mites cause damages and growth failure. You must avoid damaged bulbs when picking them at the gardening supply store.
Aphids not only damage the plants but also carry a mosaic virus. Pick aphids with your hands when you see them, or use horticultural soap/oil (if you don’t want to use pesticide).
Foliage spots happen when the plants are contacted with frost. Fall mulching can help to reduce the problem. Bring the potted bulbs inside when winter comes, or cover them with a tarp.
Bulb rot is a common effect of overwatering. However, it can also happen when you put too much nitrogen into the soil. Make sure to hold back the nitrogen-based feed when planting bulbs.
Tips to Plant Hyacinth
The stalk-like shape of hyacinths makes them perfect as companions for ruffled or bell-shaped flowers. Tall hyacinths also create great visuals in a spring or summer garden. Hyacinths are great for a landscaped or wild garden and to decorate a walkway. Their shapes and colors make them instantly recognizable.
Hyacinths, especially the bulbs, can cause irritation and even toxic reactions when ingested. The oxalic acid, which is responsible for the irritation symptoms, is present in the bulbs, foliage, and blooms. Make sure to wear gloves when handling them, and don’t let kids or pets to wander to the plants.
Hyacinth Flower Meaning
Hyacinth flower meaning was derived from Hyakinthos—a beautiful boy loved by Zeus and Apollo. When practicing disc-throwing with Apollo, the jealous Zeus changed the wind direction, making the disc to fly back and kill Hyakinthos. The heartbroken Apollo saw beautiful flowers growing from the boy’s blood, and he promptly called them hyacinth.
Due to the origin story, hyacinth became a symbol of regret and sincerity. Giving purple hyacinth to someone displays apology, regret, or sympathy. Meanwhile, blue hyacinths reflect sincere hope and well wishes.
White hyacinths are associated with prayers or expression of caring. Meanwhile, yellow hyacinths are commonly regarded as a symbol of jealousy.
Hyacinth has striking beauty and amazing fragrance, perfect as spring or summer delight. Planting hyacinth flower is easy, but you must pay attention to bulb conditions, water amount, and pests. Plant hyacinth in your garden or pots to get beautiful color and perfume at home.