Hyasquinth

IMG_0272Look at this poor runty little thing. It came in a box with its own glass bulb vase, and was the last remaining hyacinth on the Sale shelf of the garden centre, reduced to £1.99. Its brothers and sisters had long since been snapped up before Christmas, and it looked very unloved among a pitiful assortment of other horticultural rejects. But its fancy box was covered in photographs that promised gigantic, tumescent, pink flowers. I couldn’t resist.

When I got it home, I discovered why no one else had bought it. The bulb had fallen sideways inside its vase, and the desperate green shoot that was already growing had wedged itself under the rim of the vase, meaning that the bulb was completely stuck. I thought I was going to have to break the vase to get it out, or else risk seriously damaging the growing tip. I opted for the latter, and finally got the bulb clear, filled the vase with water, replaced the bulb, and left it in the hall cupboard with slim hope for success, so slim that I frequently forgot about it for days. IMG_0267

On the days I did remember to check it, I was pleased to see that roots were growing from one half of the base. (The other half harboured a delightul culture of mould). And against the odds, the growing tip seemed to be growing. I waited until the latter was a good 5cm clear of the bulb and brought it into the light. I could already see flower buds forming between the diminutive leaves, and presently these pink flowers began to appear.

It clearly needed all the help it could get, and having recently read in someone else’s post that hyacinths don’t do well in glass vases (sorry whoever you were, I can’t find your original post or I’d link to it) I potted it up in this terracotta pot. It’s doing as well as could be expected and smells delicious, although I can’t help being reminded of the Epsilon Minuses in Brave New World when I look at it.

IMG_0273Yesterday evening whilst overspending in Homebase after work, I found these healthy white hyacinths on sale for £2. I placed them next to the wee pink hyacinth by the sitting room window, then changed my mind and separated them, in case the white ones gang up and call the pink one names.

This was my first attempt at growing a hyacinth. Once they’ve done flowering I’ll plant them out in the garden and see how they fare next year. Who knows, the Epsilon Minus might miraculously transform itself into an Alpha Plus.

6 Comments

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  1. I think it looks very sweet and obviously its rather difficult start has not prevented its glorious smell – well rescued.

  2. A bonsaiacinth makes a better houseplant than the full size sort. It’s very sweet. It smells just as good. It won’t straggle and flop over. Outdoors, hyacinths last about three years, if looked after properly. In pots, that is. I’ve never tried growing them in the ground. If you plan to plant them out, feed them weekly as from now.

    • Bonsaiacinth – ha! I will certainly feed them. But the label on the white ones said plant them in the garden once they’re over. I did have my doubts. Is that wrong? If so, what DO I do when they’re over? Lift and store, or leave in pot looking old and sad (or bare)?

      • Being in the ground is what plants prefer. On the other hand – is this purely a personal quirk? – I just don’t see hyacinths as a flower-bed plant, they are too stiff and military. To my mind they are pot plants – a formal environment for a highly-bred and formal plant.
        Can you imagine a hyacinth in the wild? Wild hyacinths are blue or white and similar to bluebells, to which they are closely related. They are not native to Britain, although completely hardy here.
        There are three answers to your question.
        1. If by some miracle you have all the bones of your garden in place by the time the flowers are over, and you have a spot in mind for them, polish up your bulb planter, make a hole for each bulb, adding a spot of bonemeal, take care of the leaves as they will be still busy feeding up next year’s flower, water in well and keep moist until the leaves have gone (by about June). Mark the spot.
        2. Otherwise pot them into something larger, put outdoors, feed, water and leave to die down as above. Mark the pots.
        It is perfectly ok to plant something innocuous over the top of the dormant bulbs. I always do : lobelia, heliotrope, pelargonium, whatever, will all be fine in the 3 or 4 inches of compost above the bulbs. But until early June, while the leaves are dying, put the pots somewhere not too obvious.
        3. Allow to die back in the original pots, remove bulbs, put in paper bags, carefully marked, store in a cool dry dark place (the shed?) and bingo – when you discover them next January you can have another crisis of conscience. I have daft baggies squirrelled all over the shed – carefully labelled – containing the husks of long-forgotten treasures. Moral : paper bags are for the omniscient.

  3. Poor little thing! It’s a fighter, definitely. Still giving pleasure!

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