Like the daffodil, the hyacinth is a member of the liliopsida genus of plants. There are numerous species of hyacinths; all of which are loved and welcomed as a sign of spring.
The hyacinth is a low-growing flower ranging from 3 to 6 or 8 inches tall. Some of the most popular varieties of hyacinths are the:
- Grape: a tiny cluster of purple ‘beads’ resembling grapes on a single tiny stalk. Grape hyacinths grow in bunches and are scattered among fields and hillsides everywhere.
- Common: a cluster of densely-packed tiny flowers on a single stalk. The common hyacinth’s flowers are bell-shaped, fragrant and come in a wide assortment of colors including white, pink, purple, yellow, orange, lavender, blue and creamy white.
- Double: multiple blooms on a single, large stalk. The hollyhock is the best example of a double hyacinth.
CULTIVATION & CARE
Common hyacinths grow from bulbs, while others (hollyhocks, for instance) can easily be started from seeds. Bulbs should be planted in the fall-September to November is beset. Plant bulbs 6 to 8 inches deep, making sure the pointed tip is facing up. Loosely pack the soil around and over the bulbs and water well. You can scatter seeds in the fall, as well, covering with 2 to 3 inches of soil.
Hyacinths don’t require a lot of fertilization. A yearly application of compost worked into the soil with a pitch fork or small spade will be sufficient.
It is also important to allow the foliage growth to die back on its own before cutting after the blooming season is over (late spring).
Hyacinth bulbs are inexpensive and can be purchased for $3-$10 depending on the amount you buy and the variety.