I could never resist a hyacinth. I always plant some in the fall, of course, and am sure the squirrels and rabbits really appreciate my efforts, so every year I end up replenishing the fall bulb supply with full grown winter plants, which spend a few weeks of pampered bloom indoors and are then planted in the back yard as soon as the weather allows.

A few considerations about growing bulbs, and hyacinths in particular.

They need to be watered consistently, they are among the plants that really don’t tolerate drought, and a good mulching and fertilizing will keep them coming back stronger year after year, because it allows them to replenish their nutrient stores, instead of exhausting them.

Planting depth for bulbs is a very important factor, and one of the reasons flower bulbs don’t perform as well as expected. Daffodils, hyacinths and tulips for instance, need to be planted four and six inches deep, whereas Madonna lilies and irises like to lay right under the soil surface, their roots barely covered.

When hyacinths are planted in shallow beds, if they by some miracle happen to make it through the winter uneaten, they will emerge too soon and get hit by the frost before they have a chance to bloom.

Even though they are woodland plants, they like full sun and prefer neutral to alkaline soils, but they will tolerate slightly acidic conditions if the medium is well drained and nutrient rich.

Layering bulbs over late spring, summer and fall blooming perennials will allow their foliage to die down to the ground in its own time, without creating empty or unsightly spots in the flower bed. The plants will compete for nutrients and moisture in this setting, so remember to double down on watering and fertilizing. Did I mention bulbs really don’t like dry soil?

People expect bulbs to exhaust themselves in a few years, and this is why some gardeners treat them like annuals and replant them every year, but that can’t be the case, because if it were so whole plant species would have been extinguished a long time ago. Quite the opposite, under the right circumstances the bulbs split and the clumps expand quickly, as everybody who had the pleasure of growing irises can testify.

I’m sure somewhere on earth there is a place that exhibits the ideal growing conditions for hyacinths, a place where they thrive beyond their wildest dreams. Given that they originated in Turkey, I assume the aforementioned miracle soil must be around that area somewhere.

Just don’t forget to water them.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.