How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Hyacinth Flowers

Grape Hyacinth

Hyacinth bulbs are planted in the fall and bloom in the spring. Here’s how to plant and grow hyacinths in your garden!

The Victorians revered hyacinths for their sweet, lingering fragrance, and carefully massed them in low beds, planting in rows of one color each.

Hyacinths come in a variety of colors—from bright pink to soft blue. Grape hyacinths (pictured above) are related to standard hyacinths and have nearly the same care requirements, but belong to a separate genus (Muscari).

The loose-to-dense racemes of strongly fragrant flowers are closely packed single or double flowers. As well as growing in the ground, colorful hyacinths are excellent for forcing in containers and some can even be made to flower early indoors.


  • Plant hyacinth bulbs in autumn, before your first fall frost
  • Plant the bulbs 4 inches deep and a minimum of 3 inches apart. At the northern limits of their hardiness (zone 4), plant 6 to 8 inches deep. Grape hyacinth bulbs should be planted 2–3 inches deep.
  • Grow in well-drained, moderately fertile soil in sun or partial shade.
  • Loosen soil and work in compost or bonemeal for fertility.
  • Set the bulb in the hole with the pointy end up.
  • After planting and covering with soil, water thoroughly.
  • If you are transplanting, water sparingly and then do not water again until flower buds appear the following year.
  • Note: Hyacinth bulbs (and daffodil bulbs) contain a substance called oxalic acid, which can be irritating to bare skin. Use gloves when handling these bulbs for extended periods.

Forcing Bulbs

  • Bulbs may be forced into early growth for indoor display in winter. Plant them with the tips just showing, in soil-based potting mix in containers with drainage holes.
  • Keep in a dark place at temperatures above freezing but no higher than 45 degrees F, for at least 10 weeks to allow roots to develop.
  • When shoots are about 1 inch long, increase light and temperature gradually.
  • Water carefully, avoiding wetting the shoots or waterlogging the soil.
  • After flowering, forced hyacinths may be planted in the garden and they will flower again in subsequent years.

White hyacinth


  • Water hyacinths in the event of a dry autumn.
  • Protect container-grown plants from excessive winter moisture by keeping them covered or moving them to a sheltered area.
  • After plants are finished flowering in spring, cut back flower stalks, but allow the leaves to die back naturally.


Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

Hyacinth bulbs contain a compound 

Planting Times

Hyacinths Characteristics

Botanical Name

Hyacinthus, Muscari (Grape Hyacinths)

Plant Type Flower
Sun Exposure Full Sun, Part Sun
Soil Type Loamy
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color Blue, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Hardiness Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9