Planting Hyacinths Indoors – A Perfect Spring

Their unrivaled fragrance is part of the spring ritual, especially during those festive days of early March. For us, boys, in teenage or a bit later, hyacinths were part of our consolidated effort to woo a girl thanks to their vivid colors and strong scent, but also the low costs matching our austere budget. So, if you want to sync spring’s arrival with these superb blooms, here is more on planting hyacinths indoors

Hyacinth bulbs require a period of cooling before they will bloom. Florist suppliers often have precooled hyacinth bulbs available, ready for forcing. If you can’t find those, just store the bulbs for 8 to 12 weeks in a cold frame, outdoor shed, garage, or other dark area with temperatures from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. It’s important that you don’t expose bulbs to freezing temperatures and if you put them in the fridge, don’t place them next to apples. Apples produce a gas that will cause the bulbs to rot.

After being precooled, the bulbs can be forced into bloom in almost any planting medium: potting soil, gravel and water or just plain water. Place the bulb in a glass container and add water up to, but not touching, the bottom of the bulb. Bulbs sitting in water are prone to rot. This is where the forcing jars come in handy because they are cinched at the waist and the bulbs sit nicely just above the water.

Place the bulb and jar in a cool, dark area (about 10 degrees Celsius – a cool cellar, an unheated garage or a regular family-style refrigerator) until the root system is well developed and growth from the top has begun. Do not store these in a refrigerator with fruits, especially apples. As fruits and some vegetables ripen, they release ethylene gas, which can kill or damage the flower.

Keep cool for 10 weeks. Add water periodically, always keeping the level of water close to the base of the bulb. When the shoots are about 5 cm tall and the root system extends to the bottom of the glass, remove the jars to an intermediate area that has low light and slightly warmer temperatures. Over the next 3-4 days, gradually move your jars into a sunny window.

When the flowers appear, keep them in bright, indirect light. Temperatures of 15 degrees to 18 degrees will ensure longest flowering. Turn the jar a bit each day so that the flowers do not lean to one side as they reach for the sun.


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