Our gardening expert, RHS professional associate Darren Rudge provides us with advice, helpful hints and tips on how to get the best from your indoor or outdoor green space. Discover more in our Gardening Ideas page, but if you’re looking for something to flower indoors during the winter then Darren’s top tip here…is hyacinths!

Darren Rudge divider

Something everyone can have a go at, doesn’t take up much room and fills the house with sweet scent in time for Christmas is growing a bowl of hyacinths. These will give you beautiful flowers and fill the air with a fantastic scent. 

To have hyacinths that will flower around the Christmas period, make sure you buy bulbs that are labelled ‘prepared’ and plant them in September or early October. Prepared hyacinths have gone through a period of chilling during the summer at sub-zero temperatures for a week or so and this forces early flowering. 

Different varieties flower at different times so be sure to read the packaging of the variety you choose. 

It is a good idea to wear gloves when handling the bulbs as these can cause skin irritation.

So, here’s how to do it

  • Fill pot or container with bulb fibre or compost to within 5cm of top.
  • Set the bulbs in the pot.
  • They can be close together but not touching each other or the sides of the container.
  • Add more compost up to the neck of the bulb. The tops of the bulbs should just be showing at the surface.
  • Press the soil down firmly to set the bulbs securely in place.
  • Place your pot or container in a dark, cool place. Cover loosely with a black bin bag if necessary, to exclude any light.
  • Check regularly and add water if they are drying out.
  • When shoots are 4-5cm long, bring the pot or container into the light but keep out of strong direct light, away from draughts and away from heat sources like a radiator.
  • Once the flowers are established, you can take your hyacinths into a warmer room for display.
  • Depending on the cultivar (plant variety that has been produced in cultivation) you may have to support them by using split canes and raffia. 

Hyacinth plants

TOP TIP:

Hyacinths are easy to grow in the garden but sometimes have trouble indoors. This is usually because the room they’re in is too warm – move them somewhere cooler until the flower stalk grows longer than the leaves!

INTERESTING FACTS:

  • Hyacinth bulbs are poisonous if eaten!
  • Hyacinths are the flower used to celebrate the Persian New Year.
  • They used to use the juice of hyacinth bulbs as glue to bind books together!
  • Hyacinths make wonderful gifts to give at Christmas time. 

 

- Darren Rudge

The Laughing Gardener

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