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Best expert advice on growing hyacinths

Multicoloured hyacinths in pot

Here’s some of the best expert advice from independent gardening bloggers to help you grow your own hyacinths. Celebrated for their astonishing range of colours and intoxicating scent, hyacinths can be planted outside for bursts of colour in the spring, or forced to flower early in your home through the winter.

Whether you’re filling your patio containers, stocking your borders, growing indoors or creating some thoughtful Christmas presents, browse our wide range of hyacinth bulbs to find the perfect blooms for your purpose.


Growing hyacinths outdoors

The elegant black colour of this hyacinth brings a touch of class to the garden
Image: Hyacinth ‘Midnight Mystic’ from Suttons

Andrew – one half of Mad About Gardening on YouTube – makes the most of a sunny autumn day to plant his favourite hyacinth variety, the intensely-coloured ‘Woodstock’. Planting the purple bulbs in the centre of a container, he surrounds them with bright yellow ‘Tete-a-Tete’ daffodils for a striking contrast. Both he and partner Paul clearly have a good eye for colour – watch their autumn bulb planting video to see what else they’re planting for spring.

When planting your hyacinth bulbs, don’t firm the compost down too much if they already have well-established roots. This is great advice from Instagrammer @a_true_gardener, who discovered his hyacinth bulbs “standing up” on their roots because the compost in the pot was too compacted. This estate gardener’s info-packed account is full of inspiration for flower fans and vegetable growers alike.

Do you want to know how to get your hyacinths to return year after year? YouTube gardener Johanna Bobbio deadheads the blooms once the flowers start to turn brown, cutting them all the way back. She says, “you can deadhead the whole bloom and then feed the bulbs and move them or leave them in place.” Watch her video on how to lift and store spring bulbs to find out more!

One advantage of Scotland’s cooler summers, as Simon of Gardening at 58 North discovered, is that hyacinth foliage takes much longer to die back. “They’ve spent the whole summer absorbing the energy from the sun… which is good because the bulbs are now really fat,” he explains. His video provides a straightforward, informative guide to preparing hyacinth bulbs for storage over their dormant period. Simon plans to replant the largest bulbs in autumn and is hopeful that their larger size will make for an even more impressive display.

Growing hyacinths indoors

Hyacinths make for a gorgeous Christmas present
Image: Hyacinth in Zinc Bowl from Suttons

The process of ‘forcing’ hyacinths to bloom early is “basically a way to trick the bulbs into thinking winter has come and gone,” explains Tom of Our Houseplants. He loves growing hyacinths indoors for their “fragrant wow factor” and to brighten up the darker months. Although bulbs can’t be forced twice, once they’ve bloomed you can plant them outside where “they’ll revert to their natural growth cycle and flower again the following spring.” Read Tom’s full article for top tips. 

Hyacinths enjoy a humid environment such as the bathroom or kitchen, says Alan of Down To Earth. However, be sure not to put them too close to a radiator or other artificial heat source as the flowers “last much longer in cooler rooms”. Read Alan’s blog post on forcing hyacinth bulbs as well as a wealth of other helpful care advice. 

Forced hyacinths are an essential part of the festive season for Kate and her family, as she explains at Diary of a Country Girl. She grows her bulbs “in an array of vessels from old chamber pots to Sylvac vases” and says that the trick to making them look really special is planting them in odd numbers like threes or fives. If you want to grow hyacinths in time for Christmas, read her easy-to-follow guide.

Over at The Small Gardener, Rajul Shah says indoor hyacinths are a real mood-lifter and “give me something to look forward to as the nights draw in and the temperatures drop.” She chooses a variety that matches her festive colour scheme and recommends planting them in “a relatively shallow bowl without a drainage hole, to avoid water coming through and damaging your furniture or carpet”. Follow her step-by-step guide to growing indoor hyacinths for your own winter display.

Do you want to know how to make your indoor hyacinths last well into February? Over at @livingthegardendream, Tessa’s secret is clever successional planning. “I planted all my forced hyacinths at the same time and then stalled the growth by keeping them cold… then I bring them inside a few at a time…” Tessa plants her bulbs in all sorts of containers and has even grown hyacinths in a wicker basket. Using dogwood twigs for support is genius!

Fantastic hyacinth varieties to try

Hyacinths look stunning in a mixed display or as a solid block colour
Image: Hyacinth ‘Berries and Cream Mixture’ from Suttons

Marie of Plews Garden Design recommends Hyacinth ‘Delft Blue’ that always reminds her of “blue and white Dutch tiles”. Not only do they brighten up your home in winter, hyacinths also make wonderful Christmas presents, she says. Looking for a fun project to keep children occupied through the Christmas holiday? Marie suggests forcing hyacinths in a clear vase of water, as kids love to see the roots growing before their eyes. Read her article to find out how!

Instagram gardener @francescoalbertobucci jumped at the chance to add this highly perfumed, pale lilac hyacinth to his collection of fragrant garden plants. Francesco’s Instagram account features a wide selection of highly scented blooms, while over at his YouTube channel, Plant Reviews UK, Francesco you’ll find a fascinating comparison of several hyacinth varieties from his own garden. 

If you’re after an interesting colour combination, the horticultural team at Suttons favours a classic mixture of white, blue and pink hyacinths in decorative containers. One of their favourites is ‘Delft Blue’, but they also explain how to successfully grow other spring-flowering bulbs indoors over winter. Check out the full article – you might be surprised by the variety of bulbs you can grow in the home!

We hope our bloggers have inspired you to try growing hyacinths, whether inside or out. Why not browse our colourful range of spring-flowering bulbs and choose your favourites?

Lead image: Hyacinth Breeders Selection from Suttons

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