Hyacinth flower (Hyacinthus orientalis) was originally light blue or violet, but now it adorns indoors and outdoors in a wide variety of pastel colors. Similar to flowers like daffodils, hyacinth flowers bloom in early spring and rest until next spring.
This beautiful flower is very fragrant and because it is associated with spring, it always gives a special, fresh feeling to the environment. Hyacinth care is not very difficult, but since it is a delicate flower, it is better to be attentive while providing its requirements.
In this article, we are going to introduce this lovely specie and its interesting history. Then we will tell you all about hyacinth care indoors and outdoors, and the common problems that you may face along the way.
Hyacinth Flower History: from Ancient Greek to Floriculture Industry
There is an interesting story in ancient Greece regarding the hyacinth plant. The story is about two ancient Greek gods, “Apollo” and “Zephyrus”. Apollo was teaching throwing discs to a Greek young man named Hyacinth.
However, Zephyrus, the god of the western winds, was jealous of Hyacinth, and suddenly turned the disc that Hyacinth had thrown towards him using his wind. The disc hit Hyacinth severely in the head and killed him. There, a flower began to grow from his blood, which Apollo named in his honor Hyacinth.
The wild hyacinth flower belongs to the Middle East. In the past, this plant first began to grow in Rome and Greece but was completely forgotten. Until it was introduced to Europe in the 16th century and became widely popular.
Today, the hyacinth plant is one of the most important flowers in the floriculture industry today and its largest producer in the world is the Netherlands.
Hyacinth Plant: Types and Info
Also known as the common hyacinth, Dutch hyacinth, and garden hyacinth, this plant formerly belonged to the Hyacinthaceae family; today it is considered to be a member of the Asparagaceae genus.
Growing in full sun to partial shade and moist, well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0, this perennial is native to Asia and Europe as mentioned. Found in shades of white, blue, purple, pink, red, yellow, and orange, this plant grows up to 6 to 12 inches in height and 3 to 6 inches in width when mature.
In addition to strong sweet fragrance, purple hyacinth as well as other colors has benefits too. For example, the sap in its leaves can improve skin eczema. It is also used in producing gastrointestinal drugs, cholesterol control, inflammations, common colds, etc. Its fragrance is used in many cosmetic products as well including creams, shampoos, perfumes, and lotions.
Hyacinth flower petals are not toxic to pets and humans, but their bulbs and roots are. Ingesting these parts will cause gastrointestinal inflammation, heart palpitations, and even more serious side effects. Also, it is recommended to wear protective gloves while handling this plant to prevent skin irritations.
Do Hyacinth Flower Colors Have Meaning?
Purple hyacinth flower, blue hyacinth, pink hyacinth, white hyacinth, etc. all are equally beautiful, but do their color mean something?
This flower is a symbol of love and peace. And it is better to know a little about the different meanings that their color may convey:
- The yellow hyacinth plant is a symbol of jealousy.
- And red is a symbol of fun, creativity, and starting over.
- Violet or purple hyacinth is a symbol of forgiveness or apology.
- White hyacinth indicates good intentions or wishes for a loved one.
Hyacinth Care Indoors & Outdoors
Hyacinth care is a little different than other flowers and as said earlier, you need to be more careful in caring for it and growing it.
In cold seasons and its dormancy time, water it regularly to prepare it for regrowth and reblooming. Also, add fertilizer to its soil every year to provide the nutrition that the hyacinth flower needs. Like many spring plants, this plant has bulbs and should be planted in the soil.
You can also plant it in a pot and grow it indoors. But if you have purchased a stem of it, it is a good idea to plant it in a transparent pot. This way, you can check the amount of water and the soil’s health regularly as this flower is very sensitive to bacteria.
In hyacinth care outdoors, the bulbs should be planted in a spot with full sun or at least partial shade, so they receive 6 to ei8ght hours of sunlight a day. They bloom in the early spring and start fading before other trees fully leaf out, so too much shade from nearby trees is not going to be a problem.
In hyacinth care indoors, once the bulbs have sprouted, move the pot to indirect sunlight as cool temperatures will keep them in bloom longer. This specie still needs a lot of light. However, it should not be near a sunny window exposed to direct sunlight. Excessive light can cause the leaves to turn brown. Very low light will have a similar effect.
In hyacinth care outdoors, water the ground well after planting the bulbs. If there is no regular rain, keep watering through winter but let the ground dry out between watering. To prevent bulb rot, check the soil using your finger, and water only when it is completely dry, which is about once or twice a week, depending on your climate.
As a general rule, you may water your hyacinth flowers about ½ inch weekly. Combined with rainfall your plant will receive the water it needs.
Note: These instructions are based on the assumption that the soil is well-draining. Considering where they are native, they handle relative dryness better than soggy soil.
In hyacinth care indoors, keep the potting mix damp until the bulbs sprout. Then, water whenever the soil dries out.
The hyacinth plant is very flexible about its soil and its pH. However, they grow best in loose, well-draining soil. If you prepare a very rich soil, expect floppy stalks. So, when preparing or amending the soil, do not add too much organic matter like compost.
When potting in containers, commercial potting soils are fine. You may want to add some sand too. What you need to remember about soil in hyacinth care indoors and outdoors is that they will not tolerate wet soils as it leads to multiple problems (discussed below).
The hyacinth flower planted in the garden may be damaged by the winter cold at the beginning of germination. This will cause small brown dots to appear on the leaves, which will turn into spots over time. To prevent this, cover the ground with a thick layer of mulch (2 to 3 cm) to protect its growth through these days.
To feed new blue hyacinth bulbs (or any other color) is to add some 10-10-10 fertilizer into the hole when planting. In the spring and when the new growth appears, feed the plant again by adding fertilizer to the nearby soil and watering well.
Potting and Re-potting
It is important to know how to pot and repot this plant in hyacinth care indoors. First, regardless of the container’s material, make sure that it has good drainage.
The size of the container differs depending on the number of bulbs. Although, you may plant the bulbs more closely than when planting outdoors (almost touching). This is because the bulbs will not need space to multiply. Just be sure to leave room for some soil between them to hold water.
Once the hyacinth plant bulbs finish blooming, cut off the stalks (leaving the leaves) so they are able to maintain energy in their bulbs for the next season.
In general, pink hyacinth along with other colors can be considered pest-free plants. But sometimes the thrips or other sucking insects may attack it. Look for small insects under the leaves or inside the flower.
If you notice pest presence or movement in the withered parts of the plant, spray neem oil on the leaves once a week. Keep doing this until they are completely gone.
What to Do with Hyacinth Bulbs after Flowering?
In hyacinth care outdoors, when blooming is finished, remove the blooms without removing the leaves. As discussed, the bulbs need them to store energy for next year’s blooms. The leaves will die back when the spring ends. Now, you need to remove the dead leaves to prevent fungal diseases.
Generally, the bulbs can remain in the soil until the next spring. If you are in a zone where winter temperatures remain above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the bulbs from the soil and chill them in a dark, cold location for 6 to 8 weeks before planting them again. hyacinth flowers need a period of colder weather to bloom.
Now, what to do with hyacinth bulbs after flowering when growing them indoors?
In that case, transplant the bulbs to the garden instead of placing them into storage directly so they can gather energy to bloom next year. When their leaves die back outdoors, bring the bulbs indoors and store them in a cool, dark, dry place until the fall or winter.
Outdoor and Indoor Hyacinth Problems
Outdoor and indoor hyacinth problems include bulb rot, brown spots, reduces flower density, lack of bloom, etc. Let us take a closer look at each of these problems:
Brown Spots on Leaves and Stems
If the leaves and stems of the hyacinth plant are exposed to the last cold waves in the spring, small brown spots may appear on them. These small spots get bigger over time and turn into large patches. Sometimes, as this change occurs, the leaves break and even fall apart.
To avoid the problem, when the cold starts, immediately add about 2 inches of mulch to the bulbs. Additionally, as mentioned above, harsh or insufficient light has the same effect as well.
Weak Stems and Less Flowers
In hyacinth care, this problem occurs when the bulbs are too old. This flower looks phenomenal in its first flowering season. But as the seasons pass, the density of the flowers will decrease, and they will not be as crowded as before.
Of course, there are many who prefer to have flowers with less density. However, to keep the hyacinth plant in its best condition, in the spring, add some bone meal to the soil or simply fertilizer the bulbs with suitable plant food.
Deformed Foliage and Dying Bulbs
This particular problem is caused by bulb mites. This small pest usually is not easy to notice. It moves in the soil and infects the bulb. The infected bulbs become hard and turn into an almost light brown color. Hundreds of these pests feed on the dried and fragmented plant stem, and the resulting damage leads to other pests and diseases.
To control bulb mites, remove and throw away all infected onions. Place the healthy hyacinth plant bulbs in hot water (about 115 °F) for 3 hours and then replant them.
Mushy Bulb and Yellow Foliage
Merodon equestris or narcissus bulb fly causes these issues. The larvae of this large, hairy insect (resembling the bee) live in the bulb, change its healthy texture into a sick spongy texture, and eventually cause it to rot.
To control this pest, place the infected bulbs in hot water for 1 to 1.5 hours. Of course, if the onion is mushy, you must throw it away.
Stunned Growth, Yellowing, and Root Damage
Outdoor or indoor hyacinth problems can include rootworms attacking the plant too. These insects are microscopic in size and live in the soil.
A specie infested with these worms has a dull, withered, stagnant appearance. Its leaves turn yellow as well and the plant may even die eventually. The bulbs are also damaged during this process, so you have to remove the infected ones and throw them away.
Stunt Growth and Premature Death
If the soil temperature is between 64 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit, the fungal disease may attack the hyacinth plant bulb. This disease prevents the plant from growing and does not allow the roots to spread properly. Eventually, the lower part of the bulb will rot and take on a mushy, brown appearance.
To control the situation, remove the bulbs without damaging the healthy ones. And to prevent a similar problem in the future, soak the bulbs in benomyl fungicide before planting. Plant them in a cool, dry environment and avoid over-watering. If you see a disease or a particular problem with bulbs, do not plant them in that part of the garden until a couple of years later.
Note: Make sure any rodents have not chewed on the hyacinth plant bulbs as well!
Decolored, Pale Flowers
The mosaic virus weakens the hyacinth flower and changes its color. Aphids are one of the main causes of the spread of this virus. In fact, many aphids act as a carrier and spread viruses among plants. If you notice any of these symptoms, remove them and throw the plant away immediately.
Then, sterilize all used tools, including shovels, knives, scissors, etc., with boiling water and household bleach to prevent spreading the virus to other plants. If you see aphids, eliminate them, and try to minimize weed growth as much as possible.