Wild hyacinths are found in the area around the Mediterranean Sea, especially in Greece and Turkey. In Turkey you can even find them growing among rocks at altitudes up to 2000 metres high. Hyacinths somewhat resemble the blossoms of lilacs in that they have many small blooms, called "florets".

There is nothing bad I can say about hyacinths: they look gorgeous, they smell terrific, you can grow them indoors or out — what more could you want? Everybody should have hyacinths in their spring garden. That's my opinion.

The only thing I would caution you about is that some of the largest bulbs can get top heavy and flop over. This is not surprising when you consider that a large hyacinth bulb can produce 60 to 70 florets! If you do use these very large sizes (17/18 and up) consider staking or otherwise supporting them.

All hyacinths are fragrant, which I have indicated which ones by putting an asterisk (*) after the name of the variety. Those which are particularly fragrant have two asterisks.

Flowering time:Early spring flowering

Although classed as early spring flowering, Hyacinths typically bloom after many of the other early spring bulbs. For example, they will typically come into flower after Kaufmanniana Tulips, Muscari, Fosteriana Tulips, Single Early Tulips, Double Early Tulips, and Trumpet Daffodils, but before Long Cup Daffodils.

Plant height:8 - 12" (20 - 30 cm)
Minimum planting depth:8" (20 cm)
Hardiness zones:Suitable for zones 5 - 8 (also zone 4 if deep mulch is put on the bed in the fall)
Colours:White, pink, red, yellow, apricot, orange, mauve, blue, purple
Shape/form:Numerous small flowers (florets) on one fleshy stalk
Leaves are smooth, long and about 3/4" (2 cm) wide
Alternate names:Latin name: Hyacinthus orientalis
Notes:Good for rock gardens, containers, indoor forcing, mass planting, beds, and borders

Hyacinths like a rich soil (i.e. lots of organic matter in it), but they also want "dry feet". In other words, the soil underneath the bulbs should be well a draining soil (i.e. not clayey). If yours isn't a well draining soil, make the hole even deeper and mix sand or even gravel with the soil that goes under the Hyacinth bulbs, to make your bulbs happy.

Example varieties:Amethyst* (pink), Blue Jacket* (deep blue), Carnegie* (white), City of Haarlem* (creamy yellow), Delft Blue* (rich blue), Fondant** (pink), Gypsy Queen* (apricot), Jan Bos* (deep fuschia pink), L'Innocence* (white), Peter Stuyvesant* (royal blue-purple), Splendid Cornelia* (lilac pink), Woodstock* (red purple)

Gypsy Queen City of Haarlem Jan Bos

Peter Stuyvesant Amethyst Woodstock

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Last modified: October 13, 2008