How to Plant and Grow Hyacinth

Hyacinth bulbs welcome spring with color and fragrance.

The perfume of blooming hyacinths is as symbolic of early spring as lilacs are to the late-spring garden. Hyacinth plants consist of chubby succulent leaves arranged around a central flower spike. Florets pack the flower column in tight clusters. Bulb hybridizers have been busy pushing the envelope on hyacinth colors and forms, and now hybrids are available in almost every color except black. The double forms have rosettelike flowers that add intriguing texture. Hyacinths thrive in any well-drained soil in full to partial sun. Many varieties—usually the ones with the most robust flowers—force easily indoors if planted and chilled for up to 12 weeks.

Fragrant hyacinths unfurl their colorful flowers in early spring, perfuming the garden for two weeks or more. The sweet, spicy scent of these spring bulbs is pleasing to gardeners but seems to turn deer away. Hyacinths, like daffodils, squill, and grape hyacinths, are seldom browsed by deer, squirrels, or other rodents.

Hyacinth bulbs are toxic to humans and animals when ingested.

Hyacinth Overview

Genus Name Hyacinthus
Common Name Hyacinth
Plant Type Bulb
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 6 to 12 inches
Width 3 to 5 inches
Flower Color Blue, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Spring Bloom
Special Features Fragrance, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant

Where to Plant Hyacinth

Plant hyacinths where you can appreciate the color and fragrance they produce before most other flowers bloom in early spring. Encourage robust and healthy bulb development by planting hyacinths where the soil is dry in late summer to early fall. They don't tolerate irrigated garden beds well. Choose a location with well-draining soil and full sun or partial shade.

How and When to Plant Hyacinth

Plant hyacinth bulbs in autumn after the soil has cooled, usually late September through November, depending on your location. Plant these large bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart. Be sure to wear gloves when planting hyacinths; the bulbs can irritate skin.

Position the bulb so the pointed part is closest to the soil surface. This is where the shoots emerge. After planting, water the bulbs well and cover them with a 2-inch layer of mulch.

Hyacinth Care Tips


Full sun is best for hyacinths, but they will also grow in partial shade.

Soil and Water

When planted in well-drained soil and full sun or part shade, they can return year after year.

Temperature and Humidity

Hyacinths prefer the cool temperatures of early spring. Cool temperatures also extend the bloom time of hyacinths growing indoors.


Hyacinths aren't heavy feeders, but they benefit from an application of a granular, 10-10-10 fertilizer in autumn and again in early spring.


After the blooms die, remove them, but don't remove the foliage—it's necessary for next year's growth and blooms. After the foliage dies and turns brown, cut it back to the ground, but not before.

Potting and Repotting Hyacinth

Hyacinths, like daffodils and tulips, can be coaxed into blooming indoors in mid-winter or early spring. Plant hyacinth bulbs in a shallow container with drain holes and filled with quality potting soil. The top of the bulb should be even with the top of the container. Water well.

Chill the planted bulbs in a refrigerator, unheated garage, or cellar at 35°F to 45°F for eight to 12 weeks. After the bulbs have chilled, remove them from the refrigerator or garage and place them in a cool space of about 50°F with low light. After green shoots emerge about 1 inch, move them to a warm, brightly lit room of about 60°F. Generally, hyacinths bloom three to four weeks after they are removed from cold storage. Discard the bulbs at the end of the season.

Pests and Problems

Bulbs grown in too-wet conditions, particularly those in containers, are vulnerable to fungal diseases such as basal rot.

Bulbs mites can become a problem when damaged bulbs are planted. The best solution is to closely examine each bulb before planting and discard those that display damage.

Squirrels, voles, and chipmunks are known to occasionally dig up and eat hyacinth bulbs. The best protection is a physical barrier in the form of a cylinder installed at the time of planting that surrounds the bulbs and extends to the soil line.

How to Propagate Hyacinth

Hyacinths multiply slowly, but you can dig up clusters of hyacinths every three to five years and separate the small bulbs from the mature ones. Replant the mature bulbs in the same location. Plant the immature bulbs in a new location but at the same depth, spacing them about 6 inches apart.

Types of Hyacinth

'Carnegie' Hyacinth


Hyacinthus orientalis 'Carnegie' bears columns of snow-white flowers in early spring. The plant grows 8-12 inches tall. Zones 4-8

'China Pink' Hyacinth


Hyacinthus orientalis 'China Pink' offers soft-pink flower spikes that are sweetly perfumed, scenting the early spring air. The plant grows 12 inches tall. Zones 4-9

'City of Haarlem' Hyacinth


Hyacinthus orientalis 'City of Haarlem' stands out for its soft-yellow, scented blooms. It grows 12 inches tall. Zones 4-9

'Hollyhock' Hyacinth


Hyacinthus orientalis 'Hollyhock' is noted for its exceptional fragrance and double flowers in a rich shade of carnation pink. The variety grows 8-12 inches tall. Zones 4-8

'Peter Stuyvesant' Hyacinth


Hyacinthus orientalis 'Peter Stuyvesant' produces deep blue-purple flowers in early spring. This variety grows 12 inches tall. Zones 4-9

'Sky Jacket' Hyacinth


Hyacinthus orientalis 'Sky Jacket' rewards gardeners with steely blue flowers in early to mid-spring. The plant grows 8-10 inches tall. Zones 4-8

'Woodstock' Hyacinth


Hyacinthus orientalis 'Woodstock' is one of the most distinct varieties with its deep maroon flowers in early spring. It grows 8-12 inches tall. Zones 4-9

Hyacinth Companion Plants

Plant drifts of hyacinths alongside other spring bulbs. Lofty daffodils and tulips are good planting companions. Most hyacinths bloom in early spring. For a hyacinth bloom show that coincides with daffodils and tulips, select tulip and daffodil varieties that also bloom early in the spring season.

Hyacinths are also an excellent choice for punctuating low-growing groundcovers such as sedums, thyme, and a host of ground-hugging rock garden plants. Plant groups of 10 to 15 hyacinth bulbs for a punch of color amid low-growing plants. Don't be afraid to combine flower colors—hyacinths are available in nearly every shade of the rainbow.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do hyacinths bloom more than once?

    Hyacinths bloom only once a year but that bloom lasts three to four weeks. They will continue to bloom once each year when they receive proper care.

  • Should hyacinth blooms be deadheaded?

    Deadhead the bloom after it fades, but leave the foliage to die back on its own schedule.

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  1. Common Poisonous Plants. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

  2. Hyacinths. ASPCA

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