Forcing Hyacinths for Early Spring Blooms

Forcing Hyacinths for Early Spring Blooms
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Forcing Hyacinths for Early BloomingHyacinths are a favorite forcing bulb this time of year. It needs a 12 week cold period if you buy bulbs that are meant for fall planting outside, so there is still time to pick some up and get the process going! Some varieties that work well are Jan Bos, Ostara, Carnegie, Fondant, Blue Jacket, Gipsy Queen and Pink Pearl.

Remember, as with other bulbs that you force, the bigger the bulbs are the better. Place them in the refrigerator for 12 weeks. It's very important that you have NO apples or other fruit near the bulbs. They give off ethylene gas which can damage the bulbs.

The bulbs will flower in 3-4 weeks after the cold period. Some small bulbs may take longer. If you can manage it, an older spare refrigerator works great storing bulbs, seeds and other gardening items that need a cool location. (Use it for extra beverages in the summer!)

After 12 weeks pot your hyacinth bulbs up in a good standard potting soil. You will need at least an inch of potting soil below the bulb. Eight inch plastic pots are a good choice, but don't go much smaller.

You can also use wide, shallow pots as long as they give enough space for soil below the bulb. The bulbs will do better in deeper pots though as a general rule. The space is needed for the roots, they only need enough soil to just cover the top of the bulbs.

If you have the room, it's works great to pot the bulbs up, water just enough to moisten, cover the pot with a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. Check the pots after about 10 weeks just in case-- if they are sprouting you can remove them early. Place them on a warm, windowsill, remove the plastic and water.

If you are in a climate where it's warmer that type of year (50's at night or so) you can even put them on a patio or deck. Either way, don't place the pots in a direct, hot sun all day. Bright light and warmth is good, but you don't want to bake them. Once they have bloomed, wait for the foliage to yellow, then you can plant in the garden for next year.

It seems everyone has their own little tricks for forcing bulbs. A good way to start is to buy some bulbs on clearance and try some of the tips I've given. You will develop your own methods and find the mixture of bulbs and blooms that gives you the most joy.



About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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