They have strap-like deep green leaves and produce upright spikes of tightly placed small bell-shaped flowers in late winter or early spring. Plants with large, scented flower spikes are available in shades of blue, purple, pink, cerise and white. They can be brought indoors at flowering time, and are best replaced each season.


Alpine gardens, container plants, border plants, rockeries.


Once bulbs have flowered they may be planted in garden beds in spring and will continue to flower year after year. Remove foliage after it has died back. They require good drainage and a cool situation at first till roots develop. If there are insufficient roots, the flower will abort. They prefer a pH of 6.5 7.5. Too much nutrient will burn plants. Plant at 10-15cm apart with tips 7.5 10cm below the soil.  Lift after flowering, dust with fungicide and store dry. In warmer climates the bulbs will deteriorate over a few seasons and for this reason they are best grown in cooler areas. 


They are usually raised from seeds. Seedlings should be left undisturbed for the first year before planting out. They flower after 2-3 years. Larger ones take longer to flower. Named varieties must be raised from bulbils.


Many named cultivars and a range of species are in cultivation including:

H. orientalis (Common Hyacinth, Dutch Hyacinth) - there are many cultivars of this species. It has flower spikes to around 35cm long in a variety of colours.

H. 'Pink Pearl' - an orientalis hybrid with pink flowers. 


Plant Health

They are prone to a number of diseases including grey bulb rot where a fungal growth destroys the bulbs and spreads through the soil to infect other bulbs, soft rot caused by bacteria which makes the bulbs and leaves slimy, and storage rot. A virus disease may cause chlorosis of the leaves and distorted growth. Physiological disorders may be caused by poor cultural practices and result in poor or disfigured growth. Pests include eelworms and narcissus fly maggots which can tunnel into the bulbs.   

More info

There are several species and many cultivars mostly of the Common Hyacinth which originate from Africa and the Mediterranean region.


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