Landscape Spotlight: Hyacinth, Hyacinthus orientalis

Posted October 26, 2017 in Blog, Plant and Tree

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hyacinth?  We bet that you just closed your eyes and remembered its sweet and floral fragrance!  Hyacinths are one of the first delightful blooms in the spring and smell so beautifully aromatic, that by the time they fade, you are already looking forward to the next blooming season.

A very wise landscape design/build firm once blogged why autumn is the best season to plant, and we suggest that hyacinth bulbs find their way into your fall planting mix this season.  With over 2,000 cultivators, you are sure to find a variety and color to match your personal aesthetic!  Many florets make up this flower, and each individual bloom starts off looking like a bell but ends up looking like a starfish.  The flowers range from white, red, blue, pinks, purples, yellows and even black!  Hardy to minus 40 degrees, this pretty perennial will mature to 6-12” tall and 4-9” wide and grows in a compact manner; perfect for tight spots or locations needing a touch of rich embellishment.  This flower is happiest in the garden when it receives full sun/partial shade in sandy or loose, well-drained soil.  Keeping the soil moist until winter precipitation arrives will ensure your blooms will give quite a show when spring rolls around!

While these bulbs are targeted treats for rodent robbers, a little landscaping trick of the trade is to surround your hyacinth bulbs by daffodils!  Garden pests avoid daffodils at all costs because of their toxicity, acting as a shield or barrier around your lovely hyacinths…problem solved!  Another rule of thumb, plant these bulbs about 3 times as deep as they are wide, which is generally about 7 inches in the ground.  We know, it sounds a little strange to bury the unassuming bulbs so deeply, but the depth really has to do more about the soil temperature than anything.  Hyacinth bulbs require a chilly surrounding, so if you live in a warmer climate you can expect to dig them up and chill them if you want to guarantee they bloom again next season (some choose to place the bulbs in their vegetable crisper drawer).  If you live in a cooler climate like we do in NEPA, when the flowers have faded we recommend that you cut off the flower stalks; this will hone focus in on storing energy in the bulb itself.  If you are a tidy gardener, you can remove the leaves of the plant once they start to turn yellow.

So now that you know the when and how to plant hyacinths, let’s talk about the where and the why!  As we mentioned before, the scent of hyacinth flowers is absolutely out of this world.  While their bloom time is one of the earliest yet, unfortunately, shortest of the season, their location and design will impact their influence in your landscape.  We prefer to keep these design plants closer to areas of congregation or constant foot traffic.  The larger the flower groupings, the stronger and further the aroma will carry, so for smaller installations, plan to install closer to patios or in planters close to places of leisure.  Why plant them at all?  For curb appeal!  We suggest planting groups of hyacinths mixed in with other early blooms of daffodils and tulips or adjacent to your landscape evergreens like holly or boxwoods.  The brilliant color of the hyacinth flowers will play in graceful opposition of the stoic and steadfast evergreens.  This garden juxtaposition will offer a delicate touch to the garden that won’t go unnoticed!

Even though hyacinths are perennial, they generally live short lives, lasting about 3-4 years.  However, when their time is up, you can simply plant new hyacinth bulbs in the same location or switch it up and plant a new perennial beauty.

  • Would you like to know more about low-maintenance perennials like hyacinths or discuss what plants and flowers would work best within your landscape?  MasterPLAN Outdoor Living has extensive experience, knowledge and background in everything outdoor living.  From softscapes and hardscapes to backyard solutions and transformations, it is our mission to not only provide beautiful, custom outdoor living spaces, but to also educate our clients along the way.  Reach out to MasterPLAN when you are ready to explore the full potential for your own property!

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