This is the 3rd article in this series. Today i will share with you tips for growing flowering bulbs in warm climates – Hyacinth. Hyacinth bulbs are native to cooler and mountainous regions so they do not grow very well in warmer areas like Lahore and Karachi. But forcing is very successful here. Forcing means cheating the bulb making it think that it is in cooler climate and then give it little warmth to bloom. Forcing it normally done in water, so you do not grow the bulb in soil but only water.
Price of each bulb was Rs 60 this fall.The bulb which you will get from seeds shop or nursery will come pre-chilled means the buyer had chilled the bulb for few months before it reaches you. So the cheating part was already done when you buy the bulb. BUT that does not always happen and this is the real deal. You have to give it a chilling period of atleast 2-4 weeks by keeping it in fridge. At least that is what i do. Here goes the method.
1- Buy the fattest and biggest bulb with no mold and fungus what so ever. If you buy a bulb having some roots already sprouting that is better. Do not buy a bulb having lots of roots already sprouted.
2- Buy a jar like in the picture below. Any other jar can be used. The important think to note it that it holds the bulb at the base and water evaporation is absorbed 100% by base of bulb.
3- Fill the jar with water and place the bulb in the jar. Note that the water should be just and just means only just below the base of the bulb. DO NOT let the water touch base of bulb otherwise it will rot. It is fine if water is even 1 inch below the base. The bulb will sense the humidity below and throw the roots straight into the water automatically. Keep this jar in fridge for few weeks. This is the picture after 1 month i bought the bulb. First 3 weeks i had put it in fridge. Then kept in the room with inverted clay pot on it so that the bulb does not see the light. Keep it in dark. I tried 3 bulbs this fall and only 1 of them sent roots without needing fridge while for other 2 i had to put them in dark.
4- This is the progress after 1.5 months. Still kept in dark. If water level goes down, fill the jar with water and bring back the water level. Do it without disturbing the bulb. You can also re-insert the bulb but you have be very careful not to damage the roots while re-inserting the bulb. Let the roots grow in cool and moist environment. Do not worry if you do not see any top growth.
5- As soon as you see the flower spike appear, put it out form the dark and keep it in your room at normal light. you can place in direct sunshine as well. But i prefer to keep it in room.
6- Blue and purple are more hardy than other colors. I found white and yellow to be more sensitive to light and watering requirements. The aroma will fill the room with some divine fragrance you will never forget.
Saving for next Year
Hyacinth can not be saved for next year in warm climates. You need to buy new bulbs every year.
Next Bulb : Narcissus PaperWhite