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How to grow indoor hyacinths for Christmas
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As the Christmas approaches, most of your plants in your garden have died off except the few winter flowering plants you may have carefully planned.
However, there are still ways you can enjoy the beauty and aromatic displays during the winter months indoors, especially over Christmas and one of our favourite things to do is to grow hyacinth bowls. With hyacinths, you can grow them indoors and force them to grow out of season successfully. Follow the steps below to cultivate a stunning display at home and have beautiful scented flowering hyacinths well into the new year.
Which Bulbs to Choose
Prepared hyacinths are essential to ensure they flower at Christmas
Choose your bulbs carefully. Not every variety of hyacinth will flower throughout the Christmas period. Find bulbs that specifically say they have been “prepared”. In most garden centres they will have normal hyacinth bulbs and prepared hyacinth bulbs at the same time, they look no different so it’s vital you buy the correct ones.
A choice of spectacular colours
If you plan to give them as gifts for Christmas, something that has become a tradition in many families, pick varieties that give the traditional Christmas colours like White Pearl for white flowers or Jan Bos for red colours.
Otherwise, you can enjoy flowers that have yellow colours (City of Haarlem), pale pinks (Anne Marie) or soft blues (Delft Blue).
When to Plant
This is very important to ensure flowering at the right time
Planting should be done between September and October. There are different varieties that will produce flowers at various intervals, so you should read the instructions or packaging information so you are not caught off guard, that being said, if you choose prepared hyacinths and plant at the right time, they should all flower around Christmas.
Moreover, the temperatures where you store the pots will impact bloom time, so it is important to know what time frames are anticipated, so you can adjust temperatures accordingly.
Before you plant, be advised that some people have allergic reactions to the bulbs so it is best to wear gloves just in case.
Planting prepared hyacinths
The containers should be at least 20cm wide and the compost a multi-purpose one, peat-free. The best approach is to put the bulbs in the containers of compost, taking care not to let them touch the sides or one another, and then covering the container within 2cm from the top of the bulbs. Water them, and then place them somewhere cool and dark like a cellar, garage, shed.
When to move indoors
Place hyacinths in a cool room until they are about to flower
Leave them there until they start to sprout between 4 and 5cm in height. At this point, you can bring them indoors but be sure to keep them away from direct sunlight. There are special water cases that are designed for such indoor displays and they are vases in which you can force the bulbs directly so that you can move them from the storage area to the indoors without having to transplant. We have always been a fan of just planting them in flower bowls or baskets, just ensure the water can drain away.
Try to place them in a cool room until they are about to flower. Once the flowers are established and blooming, you can move them into a warmer room for display purposes, but they thrive best in cooler rooms so it is recommended that you only display them in warm areas periodically.
Tip: If you notice the flowers are developing more slowly than the leaves once inside, you can put the plant in a cool area and cover it for a few days, which will slow down the development of the leaves.
Again, different varieties are not only different colours but will have different growth rates, so you can add different pots to your home at various intervals to ensure a longer flowering period. Remember though, if you plant more than one variety, you need separate pots for them and should label the pots so you don’t mix them up.
If you plan to present them as Christmas gifts, you will need to plan ahead so that they are flowering or near flowering when you give them. This means planting them earlier and keeping them cool until you plan on giving them as a gift.