Roman Hyacinths

donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)October 27, 2009

I purchased a few of these (blue) this fall from Old House Gardens after reading about them in Scott Ogden's book. Does anyone grow them? Ogden says absolutely nothing about their preferred growing conditions. I especially want to know what kind of summer conditions they like: wet or dry? This will make a big difference in where I plant them, and I am hoping to get them to multiply as he says they will.

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Gads, I'm almost afraid to open threads here for fear it will be about something new (to me) that I must have.

Anywho...I would say they would prefer dry summer conditions. Check out the link below.

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: Paghat article on Roman Hyacinths.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 10:04PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Thanks, Sue, for the link, but I don't think this is the same plant that I ordered. They are listed as hyacinthus orientalis. I believe they would be similar to the Festival series of hyacinths.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 11:18PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Mercy...costly pretty little things, aren't they, but those old hyacinths are quite special.

Ok...here is what it says at the bottom of that page.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS OUTDOORS Â Hyacinths like rich, well-drained soil thatÂs dry in summer and full sun. Best in zones 5-7, they can succeed in zones 4 (well-mulched) and 8, too. Most grow 10-12 inches tall. We send 15-17 cm bulbs, the best size for gardens.

Some people are allergic to hyacinth bulbs, developing a localized itch, so you may want to handle them with gloves. Plant in mid-fall. If necessary, store till then in open bags in a cool, dry spot.

Hyacinths do best when DRY (but not hot) in summer. Choose a sunny site with well-drained soil, avoiding or improving clay or damp soil, or plant in raised beds. Plant bulbs with base 6-8 inches deep and 5-7 inches apart on center (or closer for a lush look). Scratch a tablespoon of bulb fertilizer into the surface soil (slow-release 10-10-10 is ideal). Water.

A light, airy winter mulch such as straw, oak leaves, or pine boughs is helpful in colder zones to minimize root damage from soil repeatedly freezing and thawing.

For best results, re-fertilize lightly spring and fall, and assure even moisture then. After bloom, strip off spent florets but allow foliage to yellow (to feed the bulbs for next yearÂs bloom) before removing. Close the hole left in the soil by the withering foliage to deter pests. And keep those bulbs dry!

It looks like you might be pushing the envelope on the warm end of the zone.

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: Old House Heirloom Hyacinths

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 12:21AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I'm not sure what kind you have, if they go by another name. But I do have the Festival hyacinths. Answer back if you think yours are the same, and I can tell you more about what they like.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 1:09PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Sue, yes. See why I am hoping they'll reproduce? What a great idea to check with the place from which I bought them....funny I didn't think of that, she said sheepishly. Thanks very much. Starting off, I plan to grow them in pots, so sounds like I will need to relocate them somewhere else for summer. I really do thank you for the info. :)

linnea, I have read that the old Romans are "very similar" to the Festivals. I'll be grateful for any insights you have.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 8:17PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

HÂmm; those look a lot like the festival hyacinths. I have the pink ones, bought from Scheepers maybe 5 years ago. The biggest difference I see is that the festivals have more recurved petals.

I am Zone 5, and the festivals have been hardy here. I see the Romans are supposed to be hardy only to zone 6.

They are VERY prolific, to the point where I now have pink hyacinths bordering practically everything. Most of mine are in a mixed perennial bed, where they get summer conditions that are never really the "dry" that bulbs are said to like. Maybe I have been lucky, and that actually slowed them down. I will have to compareÂlast year I moved a bunch to a much drier bed.

Compared to "regular" hyacinths, the festivals grow taller and can flop. But because the flowers are less densely packed on the stem, they have less weight too, so most stand up perfectly well. I like the looser, more naturalistic style. Leaves are narrower and easier to hide. Nice scent, maybe not as heavy as regular hyacinths.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 9:42PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Absolutely helps! Oh, I hope mine will be as inclined to reproduce as yours. I planted them today and they had offsets already forming around their bases; a good sign, I hope. I adore blue and yellows together so am hoping to be able to mate these with daffodils that bloom at the same time later. The fragrance is a wonderful bonus too. Thanks for the input, linnea.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 7:45PM
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