regrowing Hyacinth bulbs in a pot each year

cfox248(3)March 31, 2014

Hey all!

So, I recently bought a pot of Hyacinths. The kind they sell at the grocery store around Easter. I just love the smell, it makes the whole house smell good.

I was wondering about the possibility of having them regrow for me next year? I guess I have always been under the impression that bulbs just regrow each year after a winter if you keep them planted. My neighbor had a tulip garden they didn't tend to except to weed and it blew up every spring, which is what I'm sure started that thought.

Now I'm reading that they're best thrown away after they flower. Is this true? If I let them grow, flower and die right now, and then winter them till next spring, they will flower.. but it will be sad and scraggly is what I'm reading.

Do the bulbs not shoot off bulblets that will grow hearty and full the following spring? My roommate has an amaryllis that she pops in the fridge, then grows again every year. I was hoping to do something like that with hyacinths - they're my favorite bulb and they smell amazing.

If this really won't work with hyacinths, is there a bulb that I could do this with? Grow each spring, letting it winter outside (like my roommate with her amaryllis?) rather than buying whole new bulbs every year?

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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Many people toss potted bulbs after bloom. Not me.

Continue with watering. Slow it down as the foliage yellows. When the foliage has turned yellow repot them with new potting mix. If you don't give them fresh mix they will languish in old worn out soil. My hyacinth bulbs lose a lot of size the first year. Their bloom the 2nd year is sparser looking but still pretty. Repot with fresh mix each year and they will continue to enlarge and bloom. I've had some over 5 years.

Since they are potted as opposed to being buried, your zone 3 temps. may be too harsh for them. Overwinter in the garage.

As to increases with hyacinths, they are one of the slowest. Bulb differs. You could do a new post with 'Zone 3 fast increasers' or some such title to get information for your zone. Freesias, Ipheion, Ixias, Muscari and small Allium bulbs are the fastest here in zone 9. Some may be too tender for your zone? Google is your friend.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:07PM
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cfox248(3)

Thank you so much! I will definitely keep them and see what happens. So after the flowers die, and the foliage yellows, I should dump and change the soil. Then wait until they die and then Just leave them be over the summer, don't water, overwinter in garage, bring in come spring and water and get more flowers. Sound like a good base plan? (should I leave it in the soil for that? I'm hearing conflicting things.)

There are 4 flowering bulbs in the pot, but I can see shoots coming up on the sides of the pot - I'm going to hazard a guess that these are the little baby bulbs growing off the parent bulb that are not yet big enough to flower. I will leave those be. Maybe some day I can have a whole big pot full of bulbs (though once they take over a good sized pot I'll have to put a stop to babies!)

Thanks much. I do hope I can get several years out of my hyacinths. And then, when they get too old to produce good flowers, I bet the baby bulbs will be old enough to begin flowering!

I will look into other flowers that will be better for regrowing and increasing. Even if they're too tender, I have no problem overwintering them in a garage or a shed instead of outside.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:29PM
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sara82lee(8a - SE Va)

I agree that the second year for hyacinths for me seems like a "recovery" year - don't bloom as big. But then they bounce back and are better and better each year after that.

You can do the same with other spring bulbs - all the classics like daffodils and tulips. You could even try two different types of bulbs in the same pot, like tulips and freesias - the freesias will bloom after the tulips. That way you can extend the amount of time you have blooms in that pot.

Iris gals advice is good generally for all kinds of bulbs in pots.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:49PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I plant them into the garden after they bloom indoors. It takes a while before they adapt to an outdoor schedule rather than the forced one. It might be hard to take care of them in a pot. I don't know if they need cold before blooming, like tulips do, but I think they do. So you'd have to put that pot outside and take care of it over the winter: not that easy.

They are easy just to buy each year blooming, then use them in the garden.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 2:05AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

All mine go straight into the garden after blooming while still green in leaf. I buy fresh 'prepared' bulbs for forcing.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 9:32AM
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cfox248(3)

I don't have an outdoor garden. I live in a duplex, I can't plant anything in the ground outside. Hence my question about pots! I don't mind taking care of bulbs over the winter. Maybe when I DO have my own land I will try planting some, but for now, they're going to have to stay in a pot.

i'll just wing it and see what happens next year. If they bloom, great, if they don't, I'm really not out anything and I'll buy some new ones.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 10:05AM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

CFox, re: conflicting things
After the foliage turns to yellow you can cut it off and ditch the old soil. Yellow foliage is the sign it's finished its job of providing nutrients to the bulb via photosynthesis process.

It needs to be in the sun while the foliage is still green to be able to do this. If you have it out of sunlight for the bloom to last longer, when that is dying, cut the bloom off, place the pot in sunlight until the leaves turn yellow or eventually brown.

You could wait until leaves go brown and then cut/pull them off and repot. OR, to make things more confusing, you could wait until August to repot.

There is another option which I've only read about. That is removing the hyacinths from the soil/pot (after foliage has yellowed/browned/died) and storing the bulbs until the proper time to pot up. I don't know the timing of this method. I do know bulbs stored in the refrigerator (not freezer!) must not have certain fruits (apples) in the fridge at the same time. The ethelene gas given off will destroy the flower bud.

I thought hyacinths needed more winter chill than we get here in the warm end of zone 9. I am thrilled they don't. I use 3 gallon and larger pots so I don't have to repot every year. Lazy. Way too much info!

:-) thanks sara82le.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 2:47AM
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