Hyacinth Flowers – Popular Varieties and Plant Care
The bulbous, flowering perennial hyacinth (Hyacinthus) is a member of the Asparagus family. Still, it used to be part of the Lilium family and was also classified as a separate family, Hyacinthus. Hyacinthus means 'flower of rain' in Greek. It was named after a hero of Greek myth. In ancient times, there was a very handsome young man called Hyacinth, the son of the king of Sparta. His friend was the god Apollo; he often came down from heaven to earth to teach Hyacinth to throw discs. One day, while training Hyacinth, Apollo threw a discus, and the young man rushed after it to return it to the god. But the god of the West Wind, who was secretly in love with the prince and jealous of him, succeeded in turning the disc so that it smashed the handsome man's head. Hyacinth was dying in his friend's arms, and there was nothing he could do to save him. Then the grief-stricken god decided to create an incredibly beautiful flower from the drops of the beautiful young man's blood, named hyacinth.
The hyacinth's flowering stem can be either stunted or quite tall. From the rosette of leaves comes a succulent flower stalk with numerous flowers, which resemble bells and are gathered in a cyst-like inflorescence. The flowers are in the most unexpected shades. The leaves are smooth, fleshy, and bright green.
Hyacinth is among the earliest spring flowers. The plant is native to North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. However, Holland has done a lot to popularize hyacinth, which is why many people call it the world's "hyacinth center." The largest number of hyacinth varieties emerged in the Netherlands. Every year, hyacinth bulbs are sent all over the globe from Haarlem, the Netherlands.
Hyacinths have a dense bulb composed of downy, succulent leaf laminae. The flowering stem is about 0.3 m tall and extends the base. On the flowering shrub, the stem withers away, along with the narrow, upwardly pointing leaf laminae that sit at the bottom of the stem. However, in the corner of the top leaf plate on the stem, a bud is formed inside the bulb, which eventually becomes a new bulb and will bloom the following year. Bulbs may also include in the corners of other leaf blades but are weaker. These bulbs are baby bulbs and, if necessary, can be detached, and new bushes can be grown from them.
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The flowers are part of the apical racemes, cone-shaped or cylindrical. The perianth is bell-shaped, the lobes are bent back, and the color is intense. The inflorescences can be colored in various shades, e.g., red, purple, yellowish, white, pink, blue, etc. The flowers can be both pompous and straightforward. The plant has a three-nested fruit with a pair of seeds in each nest covered by a delicate peel.
Any of the crops has its agronomic requirements. Hyacinth differs from many flowers in that it is rather picky and demanding to care for. That's why before decorating your garden with it, you need to know how to care for it properly and what it needs for average growth and development.
The basic rules for growing hyacinths:
- The soil needs to be neutral, including a loosener and sod and leaf. If the soil is acidic, lime will have to be added, and clay soil can be corrected by adding sand.
- The plant reacts very negatively to stagnant water and should therefore be given proper drainage.
- Choose a sunny location to grow hyacinth, but excessively bright light may harm it.
- An area away from trees and shrubs is an excellent place to plant, as the flowers should be protected from wind gusts.
- Hyacinths shouldn't be fertilized with new, organic fertilizer.
Planting Hyacinths in the Open Air
When to plant? Hyacinth bulbs can be planted outdoors in late September or early October. If planted early, they can start to grow and will be destroyed by the cold of winter. If planted later than necessary, they may only be able to take root after frost.
Prepare the area where the hyacinths will be planted well in advance. Dig out the soil to a depth of 0.3 to 0.4 m and add 10 to 15 kg of decomposed or 3-4-year-old humus, along with around 15 grams of magnesium sulfate, 70 grams of superphosphate, and 30 grams of potassium sulfate per square meter. Depending on the nature of the substrate, you can also add peat or sand if necessary. If the substrate is sandy, 1.5 times the amount of potassium and magnesium fertilizer should be added. Feed hyacinths with nitrogen fertilizer in the spring and summer.
Planting in Fall
It has already been mentioned above that hyacinth bulbs in the garden are planted in autumn, in September-October. Experienced gardeners recommend planting medium-sized bulbs that are also called 'bedding bulbs' because they produce flower stalks that are highly weather-resistant.
Check the planting material first, and remove any infected, soft, or damaged bulbs. Then immerse them in a fungicidal solution for 30 minutes before planting them in the soil. Bulbs reaching about 50 mm in cross-section should be planted 15 to 18 centimeters in depth from the bottom, the row spacing should be about 20 centimeters, and the distance between the bulbs should be 15 centimeters. Smaller bulbs and baby bulbs should be planted at a shallower depth, and the distance between the bulbs should also be reduced.
Hyacinths grow best in loose soil if planted in a "sand jacket." To do this, pour a layer of clean river sand, about 30-50 mm thick, at the bottom of a furrow or a planting hole. Press the bulb slightly into this layer and cover it with sand and soil. This method of planting will prevent water stagnation in the ground, and the risk of rotting the bulb will be considerably reduced. If the bulbs have been planted in dry soil, water them.
Caring for Hyacinths
Taking care of hyacinths grown in the open ground is easy, but you should know and follow all the cultivation rules. First, it is necessary to ensure that the area where the hyacinth is growing is free of weeds, so weeding should be regular and timely. It should also be remembered that the soil surface around the shrubs must be systematically loosened and done quite frequently.
After placing the bulbs in the ground, a layer of mulch is applied on its surface to minimize the watering, weeding, and loosening required. Water hyacinths only during dry weather and soak the soil 15-20 cm deep.
For these flowers to grow and develop well, they need to be timely fertilized. Fertilise plants only 2 or 3 times during the growing season. Flowers can be fertilized with dry soil fertilizer or a liquid nutrient solution (in which case a little less fertilizer is used). Make sure to water the plants before adding the nutrient solution. If dry fertilizer is used, spread it on the lawn and then work it into the soil with a trowel. Fertilizer application time:
First – at the very beginning of the growing season, 20 to 25 grams of nitrate and 15 to 20 grams of superphosphate per 1 square meter are used for fertilization;
Second, during the formation of the buds, for this purpose, 30 to 35 grams of superphosphate and 15-20 grams of potassium sulfate are applied to the soil at the rate of 1 square meter;
The third is after the bushes have finished flowering, using 30-35 grams of sulphuric potash and the same amount of superphosphate per square meter.
Location and Lighting
Southern and southeastern windows are optimal. And the reason for this is its great love of sunlight. Hyacinths need daylight – at least 15 hours a day. So if you place it on the west or north side, it will have to be aided by daylight.
Even if the plant likes light, direct sunlight can still cause it harm, so on hot summer days, it is best to shade the windows or remove the plant from the window sill during the day. The pot should periodically be rotated from side to side.
The sudden change of heat and cold, draughts, and hot radiators hurt the flower. The most suitable temperature for the comfortable growth of the hyacinth is 20-22 degrees Celsius. But given that this flower is primarily positioned as a garden, staying outside or on the balcony in the warm season will only benefit it.
Watering and air humidity
The plant needs regular but gentle watering. Water very carefully. If water gets on any part of the plant, it can start to infiltrate and kill the hyacinth. The safest option is to water by dipping and not using a watering can. The water should be warm, soft, and watered down. Hyacinths do not need spraying. And when it is flowering, this is generally contraindicated!
The optimal soil composition for hyacinth is a substrate of leaf soil, humus, peat, sod soil, and sand. All these should be mixed in equal parts.
Feeding and fertilization
Hyacinths constantly need to be fertilized. Any universal fertilizer for houseplants can be used as a fertilizer. For hyacinths in the garden, you can apply fertilizer both in dry form and in dissolved form. However, the plant should always be watered before applying liquid fertilizer.
Popular Types of Hyacinths
All possible hyacinths can be divided into three main species that grow mainly in Mediterranean countries. Although botanists continue to argue about some varieties, wishing to designate them as independent, the official figures identify only the following main hyacinth species:
- Hyacinthus orientalis is the best-known and most common species. The most well-known ornamental variations are from this species. Its flower stems are slender, and the flowers are sparse. The flowers are varied in color and have a pleasant fragrance.
- Hyacinthus Litvinov is a perennial herbaceous plant that is cultivated more as an annual. Both tall and stunted specimens are found among this species. The flower is extremely beautiful. Blue, purple, and greenish colors dominate. The leaves are slightly broader than those of the oriental hyacinth.
- Hyacinthus zacaspis – has relatively tall stems, usually two flower stalks. The color of the
flowers is always light blue. In the wild, it is found in the Kopetdag Mountains.
Hyacinths have been cultivated both outdoors and indoors for about 400 years. And not so long ago, experts believed that there were about 30 species and nearly 500 varieties of hyacinth. However, most species were moved to another genus when the botanical categories were reorganized. Today, only Blue, Lilac, Pink, Red, White, Yellow, and orange hyacinths exist.
Thanks to the efforts of breeders, wide varieties and cultivars have been obtained from these species.
All varieties are classified according to flower form – into large and simple, flowering time – late, early, and medium, as well as by the color of the flowers. The flower color classification divides all varieties into 6 groups.
Can hyacinths be grown in the flat?
Plants with blossoming flowers can grow at room temperature (but should not exceed 18-20 degrees) and in good light. For home-blooming hyacinths, choose larger bulbs more than 5 cm in diameter. This will ensure successful cultivation and lush flowering.
How to care for potted hyacinths at home after flowering?
Water less frequently, at intervals of 7-8 days. After 1.5 to 2 months, the leaves will turn yellow – so the plant is preparing for a dormant state. Stop watering at this point. After 1 to 2 weeks, the above-ground parts will be dry.
When to plant hyacinths at home?
Hyacinths should be planted in autumn, between late September and early October. An earlier planting will cause the plant to shrivel and die from the winter frost. Prepare the bulbs for planting. Only healthy, firm bulbs should be selected for planting.