Using Hyacinth

Their stiff stalks give hyacinths a formal look, and they do not blend very well with other plants. They are striking massed in beds or in small clumps situated in niches in a rock garden. Plant a few in front of shrubs and along paths and fences as eye-catchers Plant them near the front door where their fragrance can be enjoyed. They are great for window boxes also.

Cutting Hyacinth
Hyacinth flowers make sturdy, fragrant additions to floral arrangements. Cut them early in the morning, choosing those that are just coming into bloom. Use a sharp knife and cut the stalk down near the soil. Add commercial floral conditioner to the water in the vase or lace it with a citrus based (non-diet) soda to help prolong flower freshness. For more information see the files on Keeping Cut Flowers and Cut Flower Supplies

Forcing Hyacinth Bulbs
Hyacinths are the easiest of the bulbs to "force". They can be grown indoors and encouraged to bloom well ahead of their natural timetable outdoors. Use shallow, broad tubs or clay containers which do not topple over. Set shards of broken crockery or pebbles mixed with a little peat moss (for drainage and water absorption) in the bottom. Add a 1-inch layer of mixed sand, loam and peat, then place as many bulbs as the pot can comfortably hold, permitting their sides to touch. Point the bulb tips upward. Cover the bulbs with good soil up to 1/2 inch above the tips. Then place the pots in the garage or basement, wherever it's dark and the temperature is around 40°F. for 6 to 8 weeks to allow roots to develop.

Keep the soil moist. If indoor storage space is limited, set the pots outside in a cold frame, or sink the pots in the ground and keep them covered with mulch to protect them from freezing for this period. Bring the bulbs indoors and they'll start growing in a few weeks. Group bulbs of the same variety together in the container so that they will all bloom at the same time.

Try "hyacinth glasses," which have flared tops to hold single bulbs. Fill them with water until it just touches the bottom of the bulbs, then place them in a cool, dark place to permit new roots to fill the lower part of the glasses. When top growth starts, bring them out into the light. Some good varieties for forcing include: `Jan Bos,' `Anne Marie,' and `Blue Jacket' (early); `Perle Brillante,' `Carnegie,' and `Delft Blue' (midseason); and `Marconi,' `Blue Giant,' and `Amethyst' (late). While using forced bulbs again is not recommended, if transplanted into your garden they may bloom in a year at their normal time, but with somewhat reduced vigor.

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