Hyacinths are one of the most popular bulbs for indoor blooms. These spring-flowering bulbs put forth a bold burst of color that lasts for about two weeks––and better yet, they’re delightfully scented. Most hyacinth bulbs for indoor use are forced to flower; this means they're chilled for a period of time to mimic the conditions of overwintering, which stimulates them to produce blooms. If you buy naked bulbs, as opposed to blooming plants, you’ll have to provide several months of chilling to coax the flowers out.
When it comes to hyacinth care, as long as they're provided the right growing conditions, they are fairly unfussy plants. They rarely suffer from diseases and pests, although like all houseplants, hyacinths may be susceptible to fungus gnats in their soil and mealybugs.
- Light: Bright
- Water: Keep the potting media lightly wet, but not soaked. Overwatering can cause root rot. If you’re growing your hyacinth in water, as in a decorative vase, only let the roots dangle into the water.
- Temperature: Keep hyacinth plants cool during the growing season to prolong the bloom. Recommend temperatures range from about 45 degrees F to 65 degrees F.
- Soil: Use a loose, well-draining potting mix. Hyacinths can also be grown in pebbles or suspended over a small vase of water, as described above.
- Fertilizer: None is needed, but a little liquid blooming fertilizer will lengthen the bloom.
Not recommended. Throw away spent bulbs and get new ones for next season. It’s true that you can store hyacinth bulbs and force a new bloom, but the plants will never regain the same vigor or set out pups for new plants.
Most hyacinths are purchased in decorative planters or vases. If you’ve forced the bulbs or purchased pre-chilled bulbs, you can start them in smaller containers, then shift them to decorative containers or vases once the leaves have begun to grow. To prevent root rot, use a planter that has drainage on the bottom to keep water from collecting.
The standard hyacinth is a Hyacinth Orientalis hybrid––and there are many. Pick your hyacinth based on its color. Popular varieties include pink, blue, and purple, but you'll also find white, yellow, orange, and peach.
Although you can get forced hyacinths to rebloom, the process of forcing a spring bulb is time-consuming and requires keeping them chilled for months at a time. Because forced bulbs are deprived of nutrients, they do not produce vigorous, beautiful flowers and fail to recapture the magic of their first bloom.
With so much work and so little reward, most people simply discard hyacinth plants at the end of the bloom or move them to an inconspicuous corner of the outside garden. During blooming, keeping them cool will prolong the bloom. Consider moving them into the coolest room of the house at night and displaying them more prominently during the day.