Best instructions for forcing hyacinths?

linnea56(z5 IL)December 1, 2009

IÂd like to do them in soil rather than in glasses, so I can plant them outside the following summer. Ideally, clay pots, because that is what I have.

Would an attached garage be too cold to keep them in for the cold storage period? Thanks!

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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Very cool dark conditions for at least eight weeks. Maximum 45F. Plant in moist compost but not soggy. Check weekly and keep just moist. If it's above freezing the mix could stay damp for weeks.

You can plant them singly in 3.5" pots for the chill time then pot on when they put their noses up. You could group them closely - 3-4 in a six inch pot or give them more generous growing room. Up to you. They do produce generous roots and it doesn't take long to fill a pot. Either add one of those leaf holder rings or pop in a stake at this time so you can stop the flop.

Bring them out into more light but not full sun while the leaves green up. Move into full sun for flowering - otherwise the stems start to stretch and lean.

No heat until the total flower bud is clear of the neck of the bulb but you can feed them with houseplant food until the buds are at the point of flowering. Stop then and wait until the flowers have finished before adding any more. Cut off the flower stalk and let the bulbs finish naturally.

Don't know whether this is a 'best' way. I usually put about three bulbs to a 9" pot when I'm using fresh-bought bulbs because they hurl themselves into flourishes of leaves and big heads of flowers. Once that's happened they go out into the garden and flower more sedately the following year.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 3:21AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thanks! That doesnÂt sound too hard. And my garage is dark, with no windows. I can start them near the big door to be colder, then move them closer to the house door to be a little warmer after it gets really cold outside here.

What is a leaf holder ring? I have garden stem holders I use for my lilies but the shortest is 20", like a metal stake with a spiral on the end. What does a leaf holder look like? I might be able to make one.

Is there any strategy I can use to get a succession of bloom? Like 3 pots worth? One starting when the first is finishing?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 1:30PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Down here, when forced bulbs are sold there is a plastic attachment that slips up over the pot, is held by the rim of the plastic pot, and has another ring that rises about four inches above the rim.

If someone at your house has access to a vice and some pliers or grips, plus some soft galvanised wire, they could make you a hoop with a spike to go into the pot.

Succession. Hmm. In the garden the various Hyacinths come out in sequence, for sure. You could try staggering the planting but I suspect the parentage would have the greater influence. Not sure, though. Worth an experiment perhaps?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 8:13PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

As it happens the hyacinths I bought are all the same, Lady Darcy. It was the only color left. If there had been multiple colors I would have bought 3 and planted one of each color in each pot. Maybe if I vary the dates I bring them in from the cold that will work.

I looked up this variety when I got home and found it is an heirloom and considered one of the best for forcing! HowÂs that for luck!

I have both tools and wire. I will make something, now that I know what the supports are supposed to look like. Sounds like a simple loop on a straight piece will work.

Thanks so much for all your help.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 11:11PM
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