In our biz, we tend to look through heaps of windows! Naturally, what people display on their window sill becomes a talking point for us at Christmas time with so many elaborate light displays and beautiful festive ornaments to admire, as well as some amazing festive indoor plants too. Hyacinths are always a popular choice, and they make perfect gifts when visiting someone’s house at this time of year.
We thought we would explain how you can grow your own Hyacinths and have them flower in time for the Christmas period, so you can either display them proudly in your home or give as a gift to someone special.
Now, there are plenty of pre-planted festive arrangements at this time of year that make lovely gifts and are easy and convenient to find and buy. However, we think that making your own gifts for Christmas is much more thoughtful. Plus, it allows you to add your own personal touches and tweaks. Hyacinths are a great choice for festive displays because they are wonderfully fragrant and can be planted in an array of different containers, from baskets, rustic wooden boxes to bespoke ceramic pots often found in local charity shops and Christmas markets. Personalised wrapping and ribbon tying make great finishing touches too.
The most important thing to note when purchasing your Hyacinth bulbs is to buy “prepared” bulbs (sometimes referred to as “forced” bulbs) as these have been through a sequence of cold treatments, which triggers the growing process. They have been “prepared” to flower earlier. Once you have purchased your prepared bulbs follow the following steps:
- Place a 5cm layer of damp compost into your container.
- Place the hyacinth bulbs on the compost, close together but not touching each other of the sides of the container.
- Fill compost around the bulbs so that the top of each bulb is visible. Leave space between the container rim and compost surface to allow for watering.
- Water lightly, just enough to moisten the compost.
- Cover the pots with black bin liners (or similar) to stop light getting through and store them somewhere dark and cool for around 10 weeks. Remember to check on them regularly and water sparingly (only if the compost feels dry).
- When shoots start to appear a few inches above the compost surface, move them into a light, airy spot indoors to bring on the flowers (do not place them above a radiator).
- Water regularly when compost dries out and they should start to flower within 3 weeks of being exposed to the light.
You will notice that generally speaking, Hyacinths need 10-13 weeks to flower from planting so if you want them to be in flower in time for Christmas, you will need to plant your bulbs towards the end of September/early October. However, grow time does vary between different cultivars, so check the packaging or information from the supplier.
For guaranteed Christmas blooms, Gardenersworld.com recommends: “plant three batches, each at weekly intervals, so if one batch goes over there will be two more in the side-lines ready to flower on the big day”
You will be able to enjoy Hyacinth flowers for several weeks in the house over the festive period but sadly, prepared hyacinth bulbs for indoor displays will not be suitable for using indoors again once they have perished. However, you can plant them outside in the garden and they will flower every spring for years to come.
If you don’t have time left to grow hyacinths for flowering this Christmas, make sure you mark September in your calendar now ready for next Christmas, and check out other winter flowering plants that will look great on your window sill and brighten up your home during the winter months.