Caring For Hyacinths
Hyacinths are a genus of three species of hyacinth plants, which are renowned for their spectacular blooms and intoxicating fragrance. Hyacinths are bulbous plants, which are available in a range of different colors. Each bulb generally produces a single spike of beautiful star-shaped flowers. With proper care, hyacinths will keep your backyard looking and smelling great.
Hyacinths take well to indoor planting, and make great houseplants. Indoors, these plants require a sunny spot with plenty of indirect light. Make sure you keep them away from heat sources and ducts. If you purchase a young plant, make sure it is healthy and thriving. Place the plant in a sunny window in your home. Provide light shade in the hottest hours of the day. If you purchase a bulb, look for firm, healthy, large bulbs, avoiding soft and mushy ones. Plant the bulb a couple of inches deep in a container filled with sandy soil and compost mixture. Keep the container in a cool, shaded place for several weeks, until the roots start forming, and then move it to a bright area.
Hyacinths require fertile soil with excellent drainage. If you are planting a hyacinth bulb outdoors, do so in the fall. Plant the bulb about a month before the first frost, so that the roots can develop. Choose a sunny spot and work some mature compost or fertilizer into the soil. Plant the bulb about 8 inches deep, with the pointed edge upwards. If you are planting multiple bulbs, leave a distance of at least 6 inches between each.
Hyacinths need regular watering so that the soil is always moist. Try to water early during the day, so that the foliage can dry itself. Avoid over-watering and making the soil soggy. This will cause rotting in the bulbs. Applying compost once a year during the growing period is beneficial to the growth of the plant. Hyacinths gradually deteriorate over the years and the blooms become thinner. This is a natural occurrence, and most gardeners replace their hyacinths and plant new bulbs every couple of years.
Pruning and Maintenance
Tall varieties of hyacinths need staking, to prevent bending over and breakage. Deadheading is beneficial to hyacinths, as the removal of old flowers encourages new, lush growth of blooms. You can also cut blooming flowers and keep them indoors in a vase. After the plant has finished blooming for the year, cut the flower stalks from the plant. Let the leaves remain on the plant and die on their own. Discard the leaves once they are dead.
You can divide hyacinth bulbs every couple of years. This will reduce crowding around the plant, and also help in creating newer, healthier plants from young bulbs. Protect the plants from pests and rodents by using barriers or fences, as needed. When watering, try not to wet the leaves and flowers too much, to avoid fungal problems. Avoid the use of chemicals and fungicides.