Hyacinths are popular over-the-winter blooms for an impressive list of reasons - they offer delightful color in the middle of a dreary winter season, they fill our homes with an intoxicating fragrance, and they are gorgeous blooming bulbs that are simple to force indoors for a touch of spring when we most need it.
But once you’ve brought your hyacinth inside and been rewarded with their fun display, they still need a little bit of TLC in order to survive to keep blooming in seasons to come. Thankfully, bulbs planted in soil can easily recycle their nutrients for another year of blooms if you guide them through the process, so it’s surprisingly simple to keep your hyacinth happy! However, if you’ve forced bulbs using only water, you may want to toss those in the compost pile, as they won’t have enough nutrients reserved to bloom again. Hyacinth blooms might be gorgeous, but they don’t exactly need extensive pampering to make it to the warmer spring weather.
The lovely blooms of a hyacinth absolutely reward you for the time invested in growing them for the first part of the winter. The beauty of growing from bulbs, however, is that you don’t need to give up on your flowers after they’ve bloomed. Don’t rush to throw your bulb away after their blooms have faded, because with a bit of effort, your bulb can live to bloom another day.
A few months after blooming, your hyacinth bulb will start to go dormant. It’s absolutely normal - good things can only last so long, unfortunately - and a part of the life cycle that will bring you more gorgeous blooms in years to come.
The first to fade will be the flower itself, usually browning and withering after a tiring 2-3 weeks of giving its all. You can expect the bloom to shrivel and die, at which point you’ll want to remove the dead flower stalk at the base of the bulb. Cut back only the dying flower stem but leave the healthy foliage.
The leaves provide photosynthesis--turning sunlight into food and energy for the bulb. Keep watering and feeding the plant until the foliage turns yellow. At this point, the bulb begins to enter its dormant period.
After Your Hyacinth is Done Blooming
Eventually, when the entire hyacinth goes dormant, it’s time to prepare it for storage until it is ready to grow again. While you should have kept their leaves intact as long as possible, it’s now safe to trim them back to just the bulb and roots.
Cut back dead foliage to the base of the bulb and store the whole pot in a cool, dry, and dark space for some beauty sleep. Do not water or feed the plant. If you’d prefer, you can remove the bulbs from the pot, clean off the soil, and store them in a mesh bag in the same conditions, but don’t forget to label the bag!
Next Year or Spring With Your Hyacinth Bulb?
Your hyacinth may reward you for all the effort that you put in to help it conserve its strength by growing and blooming in future seasons. A previously forced bulb can be planted into the garden in the early Spring after the ground thaws! This will ease your bulb out of its rest, and in the Spring’s warmth, you’ll notice it starting to send up new foliage. You could wait until the Fall or Winter to force it indoors again, but it’ll be much happier outside where God intended it to grow.
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