Everything you need to know about hyacinth bulbs
All hyacinth (Hyacinthus) bulbs produce flowers with the delightful scent we all know and love. Hyacinths are perfect for potting up, near your path, or on the patio or decking, to get the ultimate feeling of spring. Hyacinths are recognisable for their multitude of bell-shaped florets in cheerful colours although they are also available with double flowers. Hyacinth bulbs should be planted in early autumn and their lovely flowers appear in spring.
Hyacinth bulbs are round, slightly larger than a golf ball, flowering between March and April. Their scientific name is Hyacinthus which comes from ancient Greek mythology and a certain Hyakinthos. Hyakinthos was a very pretty boy, lover to Apollo, and murdered by the jealous Zephyr. On the spot where his blood was spilled, a flower grew, the Hyakinthos. The Greek name was Latinised to Hyacinthus.
Planting hyacinth bulbs
Plant hyacinth bulbs pointing upwards. For a dramatic effect, hyacinth bulbs are best planted in groups. They look great in ornamental pots and plants on the patio or decking and will also thrive and look just wonderful in the flower border in the garden. You could even try planting along a path to accentuate it. A ‘wild’ garden of hyacinths is just wonderful where they can be left to themselves and naturalise. Try planting at least 5 hyacinth bulbs of one variety set in a circle – really charming in an early spring garden. Hyacinth bulbs like a fairly humus rich, limey and somewhat course soil but really, they tend to thrive wherever they are planted. It is important though, that you give them a spot that drains well or you may have trouble with the bulbs rotting.
Delightful hyacinth blooms
Each of the flower spikes is packed with small bell-shaped florets, giving it a sturdy appearance. Some actually produce so many flowers that they need support. Hyacinths are available in various shades such as purple, pink, white and yellow and are usually sold in packs of one colour. The original plant in the wild actually flowers in blue. Choose the colour that will blend in best with the colours in your garden. Here’s a tip: blue hyacinth flowers look fabulous planted together with yellow daffodils and pink tulips.
The origin of hyacinth bulbs
Hyacinths originated in Turkey, Syria and Lebanon and were first introduced into Europe around 1560 but it was about 200 years later that they were available to be enjoyed by more and more gardeners. In the 17th and 18th century, hyacinths were so exclusive that only a few very rich hobby gardeners were able to afford them. Nowadays, the hyacinth is extremely popular and loved by just about everyone.