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Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Gipsy Queen’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Gipsy Queen’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Zone
Zones 1-7, 10, 31-45
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate
Toxicity
Bulbs may cause an allegic skin reactions.

Hyacinthus

Hyacinth
Liliaceae
Bulbs and bulblike plants, Flowers

These fall-planted, spring-flowering, Mediterranean-native bulbs are grown for spikes of bell-shaped, fragrant flowers that rise from a basal bundle of narrow bright green leaves.

They need six weeks of temperatures below 45°F to initiate flower formation; if your area doesn’t get it, put bulbs in the refrigerator for 6 weeks before planting.

Annuals anywhere but the tropics.

Hyacinthus orientalis
Hyacinthus orientalis

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Hyacinthus orientalis

To most gardeners, hyacinths are the highly fragrant, fat-spiked Dutch hybrids derived from this species. They grow to 1 ft. tall, with strap-like leaves that may be erect or arching. Large flower spikes are tightly packed with waxy blooms in white, cream, buff, yellow, pink, salmon, red, blue, or purple. The largest bulbs (called exhibition size) produce the largest spikes and are the best choice for containers and forced flowers. The next largest size is good for massing in beds and borders. The smallest bulbs produce smaller, looser flower spikes—the same results you’ll get from larger bulbs left in the ground year to year. Dutch hybrids can be grown in all zones outside Hawaii and the tropical southeast, but bulbs left in the ground will persist only in regions with distinct winter cold. Best treated as annuals in zones that don’t get regular hard winter freezes.

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