I collected together my hyacinth vases yesterday and started off some prepared ‘Blue Star’ and ‘L’Innocence’ hyacinths from Peter Nyssen. I have started putting chippings in the base of the vases in recent years as they can become top heavy and unstable, particularly the tall slim ones. I say ‘can’ become top heavy, but in fact there are not many years when they have grown and flowered successfully, although I am getting better at judging when to bring them out of their dark cupboard above the jams and chutneys. They should be placed in a cool and completely dark place for about 10-12 weeks, topping up the water periodically to just below the base of the bulbs. When the shoots are about 2″ tall (4-5cm) they can be moved to a cool but bright windowsill and they should flower pretty soon after that; turning the vases regularly will stop the flowers bending towards the light. Bringing them out too soon seems to prevent the flowerhead emerging, whereas leaving it too late results in a leggy plant.
I wonder if placing them in a cupboard I didn’t have to climb on a stool to reach would bring more consistent results…? Nevertheless, whether they succeed or not it’s a good enough reason to have collected these lovely glasses, from car boots and antique fairs, even though they are shut away for 3 months of the year! There are mixed recommendations about the future of the bulbs after they ‘have flowered’ – I have had a lot of success with planting them out in the garden, but there is a limit I suppose, otherwise I will be awash with blue and white hyacinths!