Hyacinths are one of the "big three" bulbs in gardening interest (the others being tulips and daffodils) and these extremely fragrant spring flowering bulbs are worthy of a place in your bulb garden.

Origins of Name

As an aside, the name comes from Hyakinthos – a young man accidentally killed by one of the Greek gods and from his spilt blood, this flower emerged.

Why Popular

This bulb is popular because it is 1) easy to grow, 2) is extremely fragrant and 3) comes in a wide range of colours.

Forcing Hyacinths

Forcing HyacinthsIf you're interested in forcing these bulbs here's the basics about chilling and growing on.

Native To

H. orientalis is the common bulb in our gardens and this bulb is a west and central Asian plant (mostly in Turkey). You’ll appreciate that the Dutch flower bulbs you’re buying today have very little resemblance to the species bulb.

The modern flowers have been bred for increased size and fragrance and this breeding started back with the Greeks and Romans who grew this plant in very large quantities.


***googlemmiddle.shtml***Plant in a sunny location, in well drained soils with decent fertility.

Excessive water will rot this bulb out.

Plant the bottom of the bulb approximately 6 to 7 inches deep

Plant 5 to 6 inches apart in clumps for a marvelous display.


The bulb will grow in light shade, for example morning shade or late evening shade.

You have a decision to make here. If you grow them in the shadier sections of your garden, the individual blooms will last longer on the bulbs in the spring as the hot sun does tend to shorten the bloom time. The downside to this is that the bulb itself will not thrive in the shade and will die out.

hyacinth pink elephant
Hyacinth 'Pink Elephant'

Growing Tips

If you need flowers for a special spring event, mass plant them anywhere you like and treat this bulb as an annual flower.

Grow as you would any spring flowering bulb, give lots of compost, do not water during the summer and allow the leaves to fully yellow and wither before you do any cultivating or cutting them back.


You can easily propagate new plants by harvesting the little offsets that develop on the older bulbs.

After the plant is fully dormant, (late summer) you can dig the bulb and separate these small offsets.

It will take these small bulblets 2 to 3 years to develop enough size/strength to generate flowers.

You can also grow them from seed treating the seed as a perennial.

Most significant cultivars:

•'Atlantic': blue
•'Blue Jacket': deep blue
•'Delft Blue': blue
•'Ostara': deep violet-blue Mauve-violet:
•'Amethyst': lilac-blue
•'Anna Liza': blue
•'Splendid Cornelia': blue Red:
•'Amsterdam': deep carmine red
•'Hollyhock' deep red double flowers
•'Jan Bos': carmine red Pink:
•'Anna Marie': bright pink
•'Fondant': pink
•'Lady Derby': salmon pink
•'Marconi': deep pink
•'Pink Pearl': brilliant bright pink Yellow:
•'City of Haarlem': bright yellow Orange:
•'Gypsy Queen': salmon orange White:
•'Carnegie': pure white
•'L'Innocence': pure white
•'White Pearl': pure white

Book cover spring bulbs

Trivia about Species

Hyacinthus multiflora is not exactly a species but is horticulturally a "group". What this means is irrelevant to the average gardener as the growing conditions are the same as the regular hyacinth.

The difference is the flowers on the multiflora group are more numerous with multiple stems (smaller florets but more of them) These come in a wide range of colours as well and are equally worth growing.

Hyacinthus amethystinus is a small flowered hyacinth and while it is grown in exactly the same way as the H. orientalis varieties, it has an interesting growth habit. It looks like a bulbous bluebells rather than the large flowering hyacinth. An interesting plant and one worth having in the garden (comes in white or pale blue) but it is not as showy as those big hybrids.

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