One of the earliest spring bulbs is the hyacinth. Usually appearing after crocuses but before tulips, they have old-fashioned charm combined with a sweet, subtle scent. Hyacinth bulbs need to be planted in the fall to allow the bulb to experience winter temperatures and break the dormant period. Read on for some tips on planting hyacinths in the garden so you can enjoy the color of early spring. Planting Hyacinth Bulbs Hyacinths in the garden are suitable for a variety of USDA zones, 3 through 9. They are believed to be native to the eastern Mediterranean region and require well-drained soil and winter chills to thrive.
One of the most common problems with onions is wet soil. If the soil doesn’t drain well, the bulb will sit in the water and be prone to rot. Before planting hyacinth bulbs, do a drainage test by digging a trench, filling it with water and observing how long it takes to drain. If there is still water in the ditch after half an hour, you need to improve the soil by mixing in leaf litter or other organic supplements, compost, or even some sand or pebbles. Tillage, drainage and organic matter are the most important components for hyacinth bulbs. For heavy clay soil, consider planting in a raised bed to encourage drainage. How to Plant Hyacinth Flowers In the fall, around September to October, plant your bulbs. Choose fat, large onions with no signs of disease or rot. Plant the bulbs at least three to four times as deep as they are tall. Install them pointed side up.
The flowers thrive best in full sun, but will also produce blooms in partial shade. You should experience at least six hours of sunlight per day. If your soil is low on nutrients, mix in a slow release 5-5-10 plant food. Hyacinths in the garden typically do not require maintenance from planting until flowering, as nature provides the necessary chilling requirements to force flowering once temperatures are warm. Care for Outdoor Hyacinths In good soil, these sweet flowers require little maintenance. Water after installation if no precipitation is expected. Feed the bulbs with onion feed every spring. Scrape it into the soil around the bulbs and pour in water. When the flowers are done blooming, cut off the flower stalk but leave the foliage. They will produce and store energy for next year’s growth. Once the leaves are yellow and limp, you can usually just pull them out of the ground if you wish. If winter temperatures don’t drop below 16°C, dig up the bulbs and refrigerate for eight weeks before transplanting.