Hyacinths bloom in midspring, filling the garden with a burst of pastel colors when most of the garden is just waking up. Their fragrance is so intoxicating that they’ve been called “nature’s perfume.” Like most perennial bulbs, they’re easy to grow and come back year after year! Hyacinths are also wonderful for container gardens. Here’s a guide to growing and caring for hyacinths.
About Hyacinths and Grape Hyacinths
- Hyacinths (Hyacinthus): Originally a pale blue or violet flower, hyacinth now come in a rainbow of colors including lilacs, pinks, white, cobalt blue, cream, apricot and even a blood red hue. Each hyacinth bulb generally produces one flower stalk that stands 8 to 10” tall. The hyacinth’s loose-to-dense racemes (clusters) of strongly fragrant flowers may be closely-packed single or double flowers.
- Grape hyacinths (Muscari) are not directly related to true hyacinths, but also bloom in mid-spring and have the same care requirements. This tiny wonder has has small clusters of bell-shaped, cobalt-blue flowers.
On this page, we will refer to both Hyacinthus and Muscari plants as “hyacinths” for simplicity’s sake!
As hyacinth are one of the first blooms, they look best at the front of a perennial garden, near the front door, along a walkway or in mixed borders. These beauties are also a great choice for pots and planters. Hyacinth make wonderful cutting flowers, too, and look stunning in bouquets. As the flowers are famous for their fragrance, you can bring the sweet scent of spring inside!
The Victorians revered hyacinths for their sweet, lingering fragrance, and carefully massed them in low beds, planting in rows of one color each. In general, hyacinths are said symbolize playfulness, sport, and rashness, though meanings are color-dependent. Learn more about the meanings of flowers.
Please note: Most hyacinths grow in zones 3 to 9. They must have cold temperatures of 40 to 45°F for at least 12 to 14 weeks. If temperatures in your area do not get this cold, you’ll need to pre-chill the bulbs in a refrigerator before planting them outdoors.