Hyacinths are naturally grown bulbs in Europe and Asia; in Italy there are some endemic species, with white and fragrant flowers. Hyacinths produce at the end of winter some thin fleshy, ribbon-shaped, erect, dark green leaves, and a fleshy, cylindrical floral scape, covered with innumerable intensely perfumed star-shaped flowers. The plants do not exceed 20-30 cm in height; in botanical species, widespread in nature, the floral scape carries some flowers, 7-10, sometimes even only 3-5; in hybrid species, however, the flowers are piled close to each other, forming a compact panicle, with countless flowers, even more than 25-30.
As with other bulbous plants, hyacinths have also been hybridized over the years, particularly by Dutch bulb producers, starting with the species Hyacinthus orientalis, widespread in Asia. There are countless varieties of hyacinth on the market, with the most varied colored flowers, from pure white to green, from yellow to bright red, from baby pink to purple purple.
How to grow them
The Hyacinthus orientalis are bulbs of easy cultivation, very suitable for the in-garden cultivation, but also for cultivation in water or forcing in winter.
They are grown in a very bright place, even sunny, in pots or in the open ground; they prefer fairly fresh and loose soils, even if they do not disdain the common garden soil. The flowers begin to bloom in late winter, generally in the month of March; if the soil is dry let's water, keeping the bulbs in a fresh substratum until the end of flowering.
Generally the period of flowering of hyacinths is wet and fresh, which avoids watering, especially with regard to specimens grown in the garden.
When the flowers of Hyacinthus orientalis begin to wither we remove the large floral scape, and continue to water, when necessary, until the foliage begins to wither; then suspend the waterings. At this point if we wish we can dig up the bulbs and put them in a cool, dark and dry place until the autumn; this practice is particularly useful if we grow hyacinths in pots; if instead we cultivate them in the open ground in the garden we can leave them at home for the wild. Typically hyacinths left in a soil that becomes more and more compact with time tend to produce less compact inflorescences rich in flowers, but always of an intense and perfumed color.
If we wish that every year our hyacinths produce many flowers it is necessary to provide little fertilizer during flowering, of the type indicated for bulbous plants, but in half the dose recommended on the package; moreover it is a good rule to dig up the bulbs at least every two years, remove any bulbils, and place the larger bulbs in place, after having worked the soil well to make it soft and draining.
THE GIACINTO IN BRIEF
|Family and gender|
Liliaceae, gen. Hyacinthus, more than 30 species of which 5 are endemic to our country
|Type of plant||bulbosa|
|Height at maturity||From 15 to 45 cm|
|Ground||Rich, but well-drained|
|soil pH||From neutral to alkaline|
|Propagation||Division of bulbils|
|Installation density||30 per square meter|
|Flower color||White, pink, fuchsia, red, yellow, purple, blue|
|Purposes||Flower beds, borders, vases and compositions for the home|
Plant the bulbs
In general, bulbous plants are divided into two large groups: those that bloom between the end of winter and the beginning of spring, and those that bloom between late spring and summer.
Most of the bulbous plants belonging to the first group do not fear the cold, and can stay at home in the garden throughout the year, and is therefore suitable for foraging. Hyacinths are part of this group; generally these bulbous plants are available in nurseries, or from specialized retailers, starting from the late summer, and can be planted from the beginning of the autumn.
In this way the bulbs are already well rooted in spring and the flowering is very early. If placed at the end of winter, there is the risk of losing the current year.
Hyacinths are planted after having worked the soil well, to which we will add good quality universal soil, and wanting a little mature manure, or a slow-release granular fertilizer, without exceeding the quantities.
The bulbs are placed with the apex upwards, at a depth equal to one and a half times their diameter, they are covered, watered and the bulbs are forgotten until the first buds are seen in spring.
Hyacinths, such as tulips and daffodils, are often planted in rows, or in spots, but generally always leaving around each bulb a space equal to their diameter.
The spring-flowering bulbs in winter are in total vegetative rest, as soon as the days lengthen and the temperatures rise they restart their development, producing new flowers and leaves.
This behavior is used to obtain flowers even in winter, placing the bulbs in a warm and bright place starting from October-November, to get the flowers in December-January. Forced bulbs often tend not to bloom again the following year, even if placed in the garden at the arrival of spring. We also remember that cultivating a hyacinth in full light during the winter can easily happen that the first flowers begin to bloom as soon as the floral scape has reached 3-4 cm in height. For this reason, forced hyacinth bulbs are supplied with a dark plastic cap, which must be removed when the stem carrying the flowers is at least 12-15 cm high.
Often in the flowerbed of bulbous plants in spring we plant other plants, removing the bulbous plants, the same happens in the pots. In these cases, we wait for the bulbous plants to stop producing leaves, and begin to desiccate the aerial part, then unearth them and prepare them for conservation.
In order to preserve the bulbs during the seasons it is essential to dry them well in the sun, then place them in a jute sack, or in a box, covered with sawdust, which will absorb any humidity, which could otherwise favor the development of mold. If desired we can sprinkle the sawdust with a powder fungicide, which will guarantee us even more the perfect conservation of the bulbs.
The container thus prepared should be placed in a well-ventilated, cool, dark and dry place, so as to imitate the deep soil in which the bulbs remain in nature from season to season.
THE CALENDAR OF THE GIACINTO
From August to the end of November
|Planting in pot or full ground||October December|
|Flowering in pot or full ground||From March to June|
|Extraction and division||From July to October|