Hyacinth is a genus of small, flowering plants native to the Mediterranean region. Pronounced [hy-uh-SIN-th], the history of these plants is connected to Greek mythology.
The story goes that an ancient prince named Hyakinthos was killed by a discus thrown by the Greek god Apollo. The plant that grew on the spot of his death was named after him.
The genus belongs to the Asparagaceae family of plants and includes three main species, including the common garden hyacinth also known as the “Dutch Hyacinth” – the Hyacinthus orientalis [hy-uh-SIN-thus] [or-ee-en-TAY-liss].
It is an easy plant to grow and a popular choice for houseplants. It grows from bulbs and produces bright, colorful flowers.
Caring For Hyacinth Hyacinthus Orientalis
How Big Do Hyacinth Plants Grow?
Hyacinths are typically small plants, with green leaves reaching about eight inches in length. The entire plant may only reach a height of 12” inches with a spread of four to nine inches.
They are recommended for USDA hardiness zones 3-9, making them suited for a wide variety of climates.
However, in some regions that get particularly cold, the plants may need protection in the winter.
Hyacinths are often sold as bulbs, and bulb size may determine the price. The bulbs should be planted before the first frost of fall.
These plants are commonly grown indoors, either in pots or glass bulbs.
In fact, the glass bulbs became a major fad. While they are less popular now, you can still purchase glass containers for growing hyacinths.
When Do Hyacinths Bloom and What Colors Do They Come In?
The flowers tend to bloom between late fall and spring, depending on where the flower is grown and the time of the year that it was started.
Hyacinths come in a variety of colors, including white, red, pink, blue, and yellow.
If you purchase bulbs and want them to bloom by winter, you should purchase them no later than September. They should bloom by December and remain throughout the winter.
No matter the variety, the flowers are generally only about four to six inches in length. They also produce a light fragrance that can permeate the room.
If you enjoy the fragrance, consider keeping the plant in a slightly cooler environment. The cooler air helps the scent spread easily through your home.
Their bloom time may only last for about two weeks, so you should enjoy it while it lasts.
How Much Sun Does a Hyacinthus Need?
Plant bulbs in partial shade or full sun. When grown indoors, do not place the plants in an area that gets direct sunlight. The bright UV rays may burn the leaves and kill the plant.
Hyacinths thrive in cooler environments. Keeping it in an area that does not exceed 60° degrees Fahrenheit may help it last longer.
How Often Do You Water Hyacinths?
Hyacinths require plenty of water throughout the growing season, especially when planted in a pot or container. When grown in a glass bulb, keep the water level from getting too low.
These plants may be grown outdoors in the ground.
If planting bulbs outdoors, use a balanced general purpose fertilizer to give the plant plenty of nutrients. However, fertilizer is not needed when growing in a pot, container, or bulb.
What Kind Of Soil Do Hyacinth Bulbs Need?
When purchasing bulbs, plant the bulbs in a healthy mixture of one-part sand to two parts potting soil. For individual hyacinths, grow the bulbs in at least a four-inch pot.
While these plants tend to grow in almost any well-drained soil, avoid soil that is too wet or has poor drainage.
NOTE: Hyacinth bulbs possess a substance that is itchy to some people. Wearing gloves may keep you from dealing with this negative reaction.
Store the pot in a cool, dark place for about two months. After the plant starts to grow, you can move it into a room with moderate sunlight. Avoid direct exposure to full sunlight.
What Do You Do With Hyacinth Bulbs After They Bloom?
Grooming is not needed unless you plan to place the hyacinths outdoors in your garden design.
You should clean up the spent bulbs. Cut back flower stalks but let leaves die back naturally.
How Is Hyacinth Propagated?
The best way to propagate hyacinth plants is to remove the bulbs growing on the parent bulb.
These bulbs can be planted outdoors. However, it may take up to five years for the plant to mature.
Propagating the plants indoors is not recommended.
Hyacinth Pests and Diseases
The hyacinths are not prone to many disease, pest infestations, or serious problems.
The biggest threat is gray mold, which is more likely to occur in humid regions. To protect against mold, use a fungicide solution.
What Are the Most Popular Hyacinth Varieties?
There are many varieties of hyacinths that produce beautifully-colored flowers. Some of the most common varieties include:
- Blue Star – pale blue flowers
- Delft Blue Hyacinths – porcelain-colored flowers
- Anna Marie – pink flowers
Hyacinth Uses Indoors and Out
The most popular way to grow a hyacinth is indoors inside a glass bulb, especially when growing a solitary hyacinth.
If you have a group of hyacinths, consider grouping them together in a container. You may even select a few different varieties to add more color to the container.
Hyacinths can be grown outdoors in a garden. Keep in mind that they prefer cool, dry climates.