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Grape Hyacinth Planting Guide

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Garden Pearls
Grape_hyacinths

Like clusters of tiny white and blue pearls, grape hyacinths are ideally suited for decorating the edges of gardens, containers and paths. Think of them as affordable jewelry for your landscaping. We've heard these little flowers compared with the delicate work found in Faberge eggs and seen up close, the resemblance is understandable. For those inclined to snip a few small flowers for a bedside bud vase, you'll want to make sure these petite treasures are available. Many even offer a light, grapey scent to confirm that winter has past and spring really has arrived. And blues - well, these are some of the best true blues in the gardening world. Combine their color, cost and constitution and you'll agree that these belong in every garden.

Outdoor Beds
  1. Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2-3" to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available. While grape hyacinths aren't fussy about soil, they will not survive in soggy soil or standing water.
  2. Site your grape hyacinths where they will get good light - full or three quarter day sun will produce the best blooms.
  3. Dig holes and plant the bulbs 3-4” deep and 3” apart. The bulbs are round, with small points on the sides that should be placed facing up.
  4. After planting, water well to settle the soil around the bulbs. Roots and foliage form in the fall. Flowers form in the spring.
  5. When in bloom, feel free to cut grape hyacinth flowers for tiny, perfect bouquets. This will not hurt your plants.
  6. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" of moisture per week is a good estimate.
  7. Late in the spring the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. The foliage may be removed at this point. Your bulbs will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
  8. Grape hyacinths will self seed and spread over time. Most gardeners love this tendency to naturalize. Eventually crowding may occur and flowering activity may decline. If this happens, dig up the bulbs and separate them. Distribute them around your garden or share your bounty with friends. Replant promptly. These plants typically perform beautifully for many years.
Pots, Barrels, Tubs & Urns
  1. Use tall or shallow containers; grape hyacinths work well when mixed with other petite flowers, like pansies or miniature daffodils, or when tucked around the ankles of taller plants.
  2. Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; grape hyacinths must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot.
  3. Site your grape hyacinths where they will get good light - full or three quarter day sun will produce the best blooms.
  4. Dig holes and plant the bulbs 3-4” deep and 3” apart. The bulbs are round, with small points on the sides that should be placed facing up.
  5. After planting, water well to settle the soil around the bulbs. Roots and foliage form in the fall. Flowers form in the spring.
  6. When in bloom, feel free to cut grape hyacinth flowers for tiny, perfect bouquets. This will not hurt your plants.
  7. After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight, create food through photosynthesis and strengthen the bulb for the future. Water as needed during active growth periods; about 1" of moisture per week is a good estimate
  8. Late in the spring the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. The foliage may be removed at this point. Your bulbs will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.
Indoor Forcing
  1. Grape hyacinths can be forced into bloom indoors in winter to add a splash of color and light fragrance to your home. They are easy to force and a good choice for beginners. You will need a cool place to chill the bulbs. An unused refrigerator or a basement where the temperature is 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit will work well. (Do not attempt to force bulbs by placing pots in the refrigerator where you keep fruits and vegetables. Produce gives off ethylene gas as it ripens and this retards bulb growth.)
  2. Plant the bulbs 3-4" deep and 1-2" apart and place the containers in a cool site (see step 1 above) for 10-12 weeks. Check occasionally to confirm that the soil hasn't dried out entirely - lightly moist is best. During this time the bulbs will grow a significant network of roots that will eventually peek out the drainage hole in the pot's bottom. This is a sign that your bulbs are ready to begin the flowering process.
  3. Move your pots to a light area where the temperature is warmer. Grape hyacinth blossoms (and those of all other forced bulbs) will last longer if moved to a room that is a bit cool. Hot, dry air pushes the bulbs to flower quickly, but the show also passes fast. Plant several pots and bring them into the warmth in stages, a few days apart, to extend the flower display for a number of weeks.




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