The intoxicating fragrance of hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientails) lets you know that spring is on its way. The colorful blooms often arrive before spring, not even allowing a late snow to hold them in their underground seclusion. It’s almost like they long to be seen as much as we long to see them after a cold, bland winter. The small flowers have a big impact in the landscape and are very easy to grow; just plant bulbs once and enjoy the fragrant beauty for years to come.
Select a sunny location that provides the area with at least six hours of direct sun each day. Have a soil test done and amend the soil as recommended, then work in some extra compost for ensure loose, fertile soil in which the new spring bulbs will have no trouble becoming established in. The compost will also provide instant food to the bulbs and a steady supply of nutrition throughout the growing season. Hyacinths are hardy in zones 4-9.
Don’t go for the largest bulbs when selecting hyacinths for outdoor planting. Large bulbs are best for indoor usage (such as forced spring flowers) and medium-size bulbs are best for outdoor planting. Bulbs should be firm and without blemishes. Wash hands immediately after handing hyacinths bulbs to prevent any allergic skin reaction.
Plant hyacinth bulbs in fall, starting in October and on through until the ground freezes. Dig planting hole in the prepared soil 6 inches deep and 6 inches apart. These spring beauties truly shine when planted enmass or combined with other spring bloomers like daffodils and tulips. To prevent rodents or other small animals from digging the bulbs up and eating them, place a piece of chicken wire flat on the ground over the newly planted bulbs. The flower stems will find their way through in spring, but the animals will be unable to dig up the tasty bulbs for lunch. Cover the chicken wire with organic mulch.
Hyacinths blooms appear in early spring and last for two weeks. A multitude of small blooms are borne on spikes that reach a height of 8-10 inches. Bloom colors include purple, yellow, white, blue, apricot and red.
Old Farmer’s Almanac