Skimpy Looking Hyacinths

New Hyacinths

Almost the entire plant is covered in colorful florets.  They all have such a sweet scent.  Why wouldn’t you want these in your yard?  (They also are the easiest thing to force, for indoor winter enjoyment.)  So much color and appearing soon after winter has left its mark- what a delight!  I have multiple hyacinth in my front walk planting bed, so that I can smell them each time I leave home or come back!

So many of my Hyacinths come back only with half the punch of color in following years.  They look spindly.  My skimpy Hyacinths have a lot less florets on them compared to the ones I just planted this fall.  I often hear similar complaints from other gardeners as well.

Skimpy Hyacinths- Original spring 2011


So what is the deal with these spindly, skimpy Hyacinths?  Much like Tulips, they need the following key requirements met:

  • Cold winters; average of 15 weeks long
  • Dry summers; avoid additional watering during the summer
  • Good Soil; great drainage, they hate to be kept wet
  • Full sun on leaves; let leaves rejuvenate bulbs for next year
  • Dead Head; cut seed pod off immediately after blooming

Even if the above requirements are met, the bulb of the plant may still split and grow spindly in the next years.  I have found 3 options to consider:

  • The first, would be to pull them out of the ground after flowering.  Then plant new ones in the fall!
  • The second, would be to fertilize them after flowering the first year, and before blooming again the second year.
  • The third option would be to dig them up after all foliage has withered, and store them indoors* until fall planting time again.

I am flower bulb crazy, always wanting more flowers.  But I also like easy gardening.  I do not look for extra work.  So,  I may give the extra fertilizer a try and just add new ones each year :-)!

* For more info on storing bulbs:

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2 Responses to Skimpy Looking Hyacinths

  1. Larry N. says:

    I have had Hyacinths n my flower beds for as long as I can remember. I have planted them @ every house I have lived.
    After planting I have never done anything to them, I just plain ignore them until they bloom every year. And every year they always look beautiful!! I’m not sure why this is maybe its because of our climate here in Northeast Oklahoma, but they have beautiful, fragrant blooms each and every year. The plants I have now were planted over 15 years ago and they have spread to cover my entire bed.
    They are a welcome sight so early in the spring or late winter how ever you want to look at it!!
    They bloomed early this year because of our mild winter and they have already faded. I am already looking forward to seeing and smelling them next year and your article has just made me miss them more!!

    • Gabrielle says:

      Larry- That is awesome. Your temps are probably just perfect and you must already have the great soil! My soil is all clay! (I have added some compost to a few areas) You make me jealous! I have the cold temps in WI, just terrible soil.

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