Hyacinth care: watering, cutting & more
With proper care, the colourful hyacinths will show their wonderful blooms every year. Read on for our hyacinth care tips, including how to water, fertilise and overwinter these spring flowers.
Hyacinths (Hyacinthus) are low-maintenance bulbous plants that require little attention. Keep reading for our expert tips on how to care for your hyacinth, from watering and fertilising to pruning and overwintering.
Hyacinths need very little water and cannot tolerate any waterlogging at their roots. As hyacinths are native to warm and dry climates, they use their bulb as a storage organ for water and nutrients. As a result, they should be watered sparingly, if at all. Hyacinths grown in pots can suffer from prolonged heat and drought in summer, even if the leaves have already died back. In such cases, water them with small amounts of water to get them through the hot season. Before overwintering, do not water them at all.
This long-living bulbous plant can live in the same place in the garden for many years. Even large pots prove to be successful environments for the early bloomers’ long lives. In the year after repotting, the hyacinth plant feeds off nutrients in the fresh potting soil. To encourage the hyacinths to continue blooming in the garden or pot for years after repotting, we recommend fertilising them. Natural slow-release fertilisers, such as our Plantura Flower Food, are ideal for providing hyacinths with nutrients over a long period of time. In March, when leaves start to emerge and before flowering, scatter the granules around the plants and work them into the soil if possible. The hyacinth bulb can absorb and store these nutrients for months. However, once the hyacinth has flowered, it should no longer be fertilised, as the plant can no longer absorb any more nutrients.
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Hyacinths make excellent cut flowers that look beautiful in a vase. Cut off the magnificent blossom at the bottom of the stem with sharp scissors. To avoid wasting the bulb’s energy on seed formation, cut off the hyacinth flowers along with the excess stem when their colour has faded. When cutting the hyacinth, make sure not to damage the leaves. After flowering, hyacinths begin to transport all of the nutrients and water contained in the leaves to the bulb until summer. The leaves yellow and dry out on their own. If necessary, you can pluck off or cut back these completely dry leaves to improve the appearance of the bulbous plant. However, pruning is not absolutely necessary.
In bulb form, hyacinths are hardy, surviving temperatures as low as -15°C. However, late frosts in spring can damage young shoots. On cold nights, carefully cover the hyacinths with brushwood, coniferous branches or jute to protect the delicate seedlings. Hyacinths in pots can overwinter outdoors if the pot is protected from freezing with jute, fleece or similar materials. If the plants already have fresh green sprouts and there are signs of another frost, it is best to bring the hyacinths indoors.
If you keep the hyacinth as a potted plant indoors, keep it in a cool, sheltered place during the winter. A good place to keep the hyacinth bulb is in the refrigerator as it also stimulates flower formation. Make sure that the bulbs are not too damp, or they will start to rot. After about eight weeks, place the hyacinth in a bright and cool location. After a little watering, it will start to grow roots and sprouts and then after about a week, you can bring the hyacinth into your warm living room.
The colourful tulip (Tulipa) is another popular spring-flowering plant. Find out how to plant and care for this ornamental bulbous plant.