Forced Hyacinths for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day February 2011

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

Just like last year, I forced some hyacinths to cheer me up. I think I was a little more successful than last year.

crystal palace hyacinths forced in a pot

I forced these Crystal Palace hyacinths

First of all, I used good quality bulbs. Last year I bought some on impulse at a big box store. This year I subscribed to Brent and Becky’s email newsletter and waited until they put the hyacinths on sale. Then I bought some ‘Crystal Palace’ hyacinths. On November 7 I put two of them in hyacinth glasses and potted the rest of them up. I remembered that last year they didn’t spend enough time chilling, so I marked January 16 on the calendar to bring them up. That’s ten weeks.

crystal palace hyacinth in glass

Here's the two in hyacinth glasses. I like being able to see the roots

At that point you could see the green tips coming out of the potting soil and the bulbs in glasses had quite a bit of roots. I put them in the coldest room in the house, where I also happen to have my seed starting setup, so it was easy to put them under the lights.

When the buds started showing color, I brought them to the sunniest windows we have, which are in the kitchen. The ones in the glasses bloomed first, and then the ones in the pot. They look blue in the picture, but when I look at them they seem more purple in color. However, I took the picture a week ago, so perhaps the color changed gradually. At first I thought I hadn’t kept them in the cold long enough, and the flowers weren’t going to emerge out of the leaves enough to enjoy them, but in the end it seemed to be about right. One flower was so top heavy that I had trouble keeping it upright in the glass:

top heavy hyacinth in glass

This hyacinth got a bit top heavy.

I tried jamming a marble between the bulb and the glass. That worked for a while, but I guess the bulb shrunk, and then the marble dropped down into the glass. Elizabeth Licata, who inspired me to start forcing bulbs to begin with, says she displays them on a windowsill and just lets the floppy ones lean against the window.

This post is a little bit of a cheat, because the flowers are well past their prime now, though I am still enjoying them. I have to admit that if these hyacinths were blooming in the ground outdoors I would consider it time to deadhead them. I also have one miniature rose bloom.

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Comments on this entry are closed.

MMcClure February 25, 2011, 11:30 am

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

Persian poet
(1184 – 1291)

Dirty Girl Gardening February 24, 2011, 6:38 pm

great pot.. simple but cool.

Todd@Big Blog Of Gardening February 21, 2011, 7:02 pm

They look beautiful and I’m sure they cheer up the winter blues!

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings February 21, 2011, 3:39 pm

I forgot to force any this year. Now, I wonder what I was doing to make me forget. Wonderful plants and they smell so good.~~Dee

Heather at Dusty Bay February 21, 2011, 9:15 am

The colour is just gorgeous! I haven’t tried forcing those but I do have the white and pretty pink ones in my garden – I love it when they pop up too!

fer February 19, 2011, 6:03 am

They look great! and the scent must be very nice too. I like how you can see the roots

Carolyn February 17, 2011, 9:16 am

I’m imagining the fragrance is heavenly.

Lorene February 16, 2011, 6:21 pm

Heaven! I can almost smell their delicious perfume. Worth every flip-flopping, marble-propping effort!

Teresa February 16, 2011, 5:36 pm

Very cheerful! I could use a bit of that sunshine, maybe next year….

Alistair February 16, 2011, 1:22 pm

Kathy, your Crystal Palace Hyacinths are a gorgeous shade of blue. When we were first married and living in a flat with no garden Hyacinth was the first plant which Myra bought. I remember it still, three bulbs in a pot just about ready to show their blue flowers. The fragrance filled the house, I knew then we had to have a garden.

Les February 16, 2011, 7:17 am

It would be worth whatever trouble they were just to have that fragrance in the house. Happy GBBD!

eliz February 15, 2011, 7:58 pm

They look great! Congratulations. I hope you are planning to continue with them in years to come.

Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening February 15, 2011, 6:34 pm

Thank you for sharing your beautiful hyacinth blooms. Love the purple! A little bit of bloom sure makes you smile a lot! Happy GBBD!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter February 15, 2011, 6:29 pm

I like the container in the first photo. It sets off the hyacinths so well and they look good together. I’m not sure what I did wrong with my hyacinths. I’m still hoping for blooms.

Gail February 15, 2011, 6:15 pm

Beautiful! I can imagine how delightful they are as their fragrance fills the air~I hope it’s near your desk! gail

Leslie February 15, 2011, 5:24 pm

Those hyacinths are truly lovely…no matter which way they are pointing!

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm February 15, 2011, 4:32 pm

I love hyacinths and those are beautiful! I have never forced them but, after looking at your’s, I think I will give it a try next winter

Frances February 15, 2011, 4:21 pm

Oh Kathy, I think they are wonderful, whatever color they are. The fragrance must be heavenly. Good for you getting the better quality bulbs

Helen at Toronto Gardens February 15, 2011, 12:15 pm

Kathy, nothing beats the scent of a hyacinth at this time of year. It smells like pure promise.

commonweeder February 15, 2011, 11:36 am

Forced hyacinths are a beautiful thing, and I love the blue variety. I have given up with hyacinths, but tried other bulbs this year, but I think they might not have gotten cold enough before I brought them into the light. My basement is warmer with the new foundation which makes it less good for chilling bulbs.

Donna February 15, 2011, 10:51 am

Kathy, nice forcing and the color is great on these dreary winter days. But I bet it is sunny today, because we are in sun. My over wintered standards are all in bud right now but I did not show them either. I am waiting for the rose flush. Happy GBBD. Donna in Niagara Falls

Kathy Purdy February 15, 2011, 4:17 pm

You are correct; it is sunny here today. I went on another walk in the woods, walking in my own footsteps from last time.

CurtissAnn February 15, 2011, 8:45 am

Hi, Kathy! Those hyacinths are gorgeous. The photos seem almost to give off a scent. Makes me start to plan for next year. 🙂

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens February 15, 2011, 8:36 am

I love to see your hyacinths and the one lying on its side is pretty funny. I am currently growing fresh scallions in my bulb vase, and it’s working really well. Happy GBBD, Carolyn

Cyndy February 15, 2011, 5:47 am

Kathy, That is definitely a variety to seek out – the color is amazing!