If you want to force hyacinth bulbs indoors to enjoy their flower, scent and colour over the winter, here’s a selection of expert advice from our favourite bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers. These independent posts and videos give you step-by-step advice on how to make these spring-flowering bulbs bloom early. You’ll also find information on growing them in water, and getting your hyacinths to flower again, year after year.
Jane Austen Centre
Like a Georgian, force your hyacinth bulbs yourself by chilling them for eight weeks before planting, says the Jane Austen Centre blog. They recommend placing your regular hyacinth bulbs in a dry labelled bag in a dark unheated space like a garage or garden shed, or anywhere the temperature won’t rise above 10 degrees celsius. Check out this excellent post to find out why the famous writer featured the hyacinth in her writing, and how the bulb became such a desirable feature in Georgian Britain.
Ray – Grow Your Own
“If you’ve got irritant skin, then wear some gloves,” advises Ray from YouTube channel Grow Your Own! He finds touching the bulbs makes his skin itchy, and touching his face after handling the bulbs causes a reaction. Check out Ray’s video to see how deep he plants his Christmas hyacinth bulbs, and where he places his freshly planted pot for the best results.
Julie Berk – Garden Withindoors
Don’t limit yourself to just a few bulbs, go large like bulb enthusiast and blogger Julie of popular blog Garden Withindoors. This expert uses lovely traditional bulb forcing vases to display her huge collection of forced hyacinths, starting her ‘season’ in October by matching bulb to vase. See the rest of her method for growing bulbs in water in her helpful article ‘Start of the Forcing Season’.
Karen Pratt – Thompson & Morgan blog
“If you don’t have any suitable vases, try using bowls filled with pebbles or stones, pour the water in and place the bulb on top. Use clean, attractive stones, so if you take some from the garden, give them a good scrub first,” suggests one of Thompson & Morgan’s in-house experts, Karen Pratt. Find more top tricks for growing your hyacinth bulbs in water, and a few top variety suggestions in this helpful article.
No pots and compost needed for these bulbs! YouTuber Mike Thurlow grows his favourite hyacinth varieties in jam jars which are more fun, he says. Just make sure the bulbs are not sitting in contact with the water or they will rot. There’s no need to stop at Christmas either. Mike recommends starting your bulbs off in succession so that you can enjoy flowers up until March.
Take a sneak peak at what two week old hyacinth bulbs look like over @steffis_garden_ update. As this Instagrammer says, all the action is happening underneath the soil surface at this point, nicely demonstrated by the bulbs in water filled vases. Just check out that awesome root growth! Give this page a follow to keep up with allotment adventures and lovely garden tips.
Tony O’Neill – Simplify Gardening
The middle of September is the last chance you’ll have to plant your hyacinth bulbs in time for Christmas, says YouTuber Tony. Tony makes three large pots for his parents, his nan and his wife for Christmas, topping them off with a layer of decorative sphagnum moss to make them look extra special. Watch the full video at Tony’s YouTube channel Simplify Gardening to see his super clear step-by-step guide to growing hyacinths, from the best way to buy your bulbs to developing a super strong root system before they flower.
Place a layer of stone chippings or pea shingle in the bottom of your plant pot before you add any compost, says YouTuber Jack Shilley. Spacing your hyacinth bulbs so they don’t touch, along with the layer of shingle, ensures that the medium is completely free-draining – making perfect hyacinth growing conditions. Jack’s page is chock full of great gardening ‘how-to’ videos, it’s well worth a browse!
Dan – @vivaflowevr
Your forced hyacinths make a great Christmas gift, just look at Dan’s bulbs planted up in gorgeous crystal containers. “I think a homemade gift is so much more appreciated as a present and brings so much joy,” he says. Give Dan’s instagram page @vivaflowevr a follow for more great gardening ideas and plant pics.
K – Balconia Garden
Rotate your hyacinth bulb when it’s in flower to produce a more erect stem, says YouTuber K of Balconia Garden. The flowers are very top-heavy and will bend towards the light, she explains, and with up to three flower stems from one bulb it’s well worth doing to keep them all upright and strong. When asked what the best part of growing hyacinths is? “It’s the smell, it’s just divine,” she says.
There are so many ways to display your hyacinths! Check out the otherworldly display designed by @maryjanevaughan in London’s Natural History Museum. She chose hyacinth bulbs over everything else to display in this world famous venue. Try creating a unique display for your own home using lights and fun containers, using this top London florist for inspiration – “it’s like a puzzle and lots of fun,” she says.
Simon – Gardening at 58 North
Don’t cut the flowers all the way back after flowering, just cut the very top of the flower stem right under the bloom, says YouTuber Simon of channel Gardening at 58 North. When the blooms are looking a bit yellowed, cutting away the tops of the stems allows the chemicals to return into the bulb to re-fuel it for flowering next year. Find a super clear demonstration in his video ‘Hyacinth Care’.
Simon – Garden of Eaden
If you plan to re-use your forced hyacinth bulbs in the garden, pot up your display using compost and not bulb fibre, says expert blogger Simon of popular blog Garden of Eaden. Bulb fibre contains no nutrients, and will exhaust the bulb and prevent flowering for up to two years after, he explains. Simon’s article ‘How to Grow Hyacinth Bulbs’ is packed full of planting tips and fascinating hyacinth history, so make sure to have a read.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of the best hyacinth forcing content from the internet, and feel able to plant up your own indoor displays. Do you know of a great article we’ve missed? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or tag us at #YourTMGarden. For more spring bulb help and planting guidance, head over to our spring flowering bulb hub page.
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