A genus of bulbous-rooted plants found wild in
the Mediterranean region and Asia Minor.
In Hyacinthus orientalis and its varieties the leaves
are strap-shaped and the flowers are bell-shaped,
an inch or more across, and borne in a dense raceme
on thick stems up to a foot or more in height.
The colour of the flowers can vary from white
to yellow, orange, red, blue, pink and purple
and are strongly scented.
Hyacinths are produced very extensively in Holland
where the plantations comprise pure sand into
which has been introduced a liberal quantity of
Hyacinths may be grown easily in well-drained
The time for planting is in late summer or early
They are particularly well adapted for cultivation
in bowls or pots, and by appropriate treatment
may be forced into bloom for Christmas if given
the requisite temperature under the moist and
humid conditions of a greenhouse.
Propagation is by offsets or from seed.
The flowering season is in April.
A foot to eighteen inches.
Flowers of various colours, in April.
Few spring flowers can compete with the Hyacinth,
either in form, colour or scent. It is unfortunate
that it is not perennial in English soils, and
that in comparison with other bulbs it remains
To obtain a yearly show of
bloom fresh bulbs must be bought every autumn;
the roots that have flowered survive, and if properly
treated may give some bloom for several successive
springs, but only bloom suitable for rough borders
and spare corners, not for the geometrical beds
on the front lawn.
For a proper display, the soil
must be well dug and ought to be somewhat light
No fresh manure will be required, but
the ground may be enriched with leaf-mould, road-scrapings
and the like.
Buy bulbs of a trustworthy house;
hardiness and heaviness are a better criterion
of future quality than mere size.
Look over the
bulbs at the time of planting, and carefully pare
off with a sharp knife any decayed places among
the scales or at the base.
Plant with a trowel,
three or four inches deep and eight or nine apart
every way; even distances may be secured by pressing
a straight piece of wood (a rake handle, e.g.)
on the soil so as to mark parallel lines on the
surface, and repeating the process at right angles,
the intersections marking the places for the bulbs.
At this rate it will take about a hundred bulbs
to plant a bed two and a half yards square –
a rather expensive proportion, the beginner will
For outdoor planting (which should
be finished before the end of October) avoid the
double flowered kinds; masses of one colour, or
of two colours in complete harmony, are most effective;
but the amateur may have to be content with a
bed or two of “mixture”.
kinds of singles for bedding are those sold in
distinct shades of colour and simultaneous in
flowering; if all colours are required, obtain
a “mixture” (one that is not too cheap).
If named sorts are desired, the following singles
are all good and dependable:
White: Alba maxima.
Light Blue: Grand Lilas.
Queen of the Blues.
Dark Blue: King of the Blues (unapproachable
Rose and Pink: Gigantea.
Crimson: Général Pélissier.
If the soil is heavy or clayey, the holes for
the bulbs may be made of double depth and partly
filled with light compost containing plenty of
silver or sharp sand; the bulb itself may be bedded
in a half-handful of pure sand.
The ground is required for summer bedding almost
as soon as the hyacinths are out of flower; therefore,
as soon as the spikes are shabby the plants should
be carefully forked up and replanted (with as
little damage as is practicable to the root fibres)
in some spare corner of the garden.
Here they will finish their growth and ripen the
new bulbs as well as our climate allows; and without
further attention will give some very fair spikes
of bloom for several seasons.
There are three varieties which are quite hardy,
very beautiful and much neglected in English gardens;
the Grape, the Feather and the Musk hyacinths.
The Feather hyacinth produces a purplish plume
of finely-cut petals;
the Grape a conical cluster of globular bells,
of a delightful shade of blue.
The bulbs are absolutely hardy, and will stand
a good deal of shade from trees.
They should be planted in October, two inches
deep and two apart, if possible, in large masses,
as half their effect depends upon the body of
colour which they produce in quantity.
The Grape Hyacinth
may be “naturalised” in grass or rough
land, and is at its best among half wild surroundings.
The proper name of this family is Muscari; the
best varieties of the Grape Hyacinth are Muscari
botryoides (the type) and Muscari b. conicum,
or “Heavenly Blue”.
The Feather and Musk Hyacinths are respectively
Muscari monstrosum and Muscari moschatum.
See Also : Grape