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Garden Hyacinth

One of the many pleasures of springtime is smelling the perfume of hyacinths...

Common hyacinths.

One of the many pleasures of springtime is smelling the perfume of hyacinths. Sometimes I am so impatient to get a whiff before they bloom in my garden that I buy a potted plant and bury my nose in the flower. Fortunately, to soothe one’s conscience, the bulb from the pot can be planted later in the garden.

The fragrant Dutch hyacinths are known as garden hyacinths, as well as by the botanical name of Hyacinthus orientalis.

They grow 10-inches tall in zones 4 through 8, and the bulbs are easily forced.

If planted in the garden in the fall, the bulbs should be planted deeply in soil that is well drained and enriched with bulb food, as they need fertilizer to perform well over time. It’s best not to line them up like soldiers, but rather to dig a big round hole and place bulbs in clusters so that they have a natural grouping in a bed when they flower each spring. If the oval flower cluster made up of many little florets looks thin and not dense, it’s a sign that more fertilizer is needed after the bloom fades.

An especially full and fragrant variety with double royal blue florets is ‘Crystal Palace’.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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