January 25, 2012

Hyacinths forcing easier than I thought, but I need to master the art of forcing

Forcing hyacints at home is easier than I thought.
If you want to do it, start it 2-3 months before you'd like to get the flowers.

You can start them from mid-September to December. Bulbs need the cold treatment 10 to 13 weeks before planting. So, it sums up to approx. 3-4 months you should start the procedure before expected blooms.

For flowering in late December, you should start planting mid-September, for February flowering, mid-October, and for March and April, mid-November.

Cold treatment is the key
After you are done with planting, water the pots thoroughly and place them in cold at 350F/10C to 450F/40C.
They should be kept moist throughout the rooting and cooling period. After 5 to 6 weeks, roots should grow out of the holes of the containers. The shoots will emerge from the bulbs.
Longer cold treatment will give you taller flowers, shorter will give smaller plants and sometimes no flowers at all.

After bringing the bulbs home, place them in a 600F/150C temp., in direct sunlight. It will take 2 to 3 weeks to flower. After the flowers begin to open, take the plants out of direct sunlight to make the flowers lasting longer. There is no need fertilize it.

Spring flowering bulbs that have been forced indoors are usually of little value for outdoor plantings. After flowering forced hyacinths bulbs can be placed outdoors as soon as spring arrives. Many of them will flower in the garden. Maybe not next spring, but after 2 years.

Looking at my hyacints - conclusion is clear. White bulbs didn't get enough cold treatment.

This is how they looked 3 weeks ago.

Photo above is taken this morning, which is actually less than 2 months after planting.

ATTENTION: Hyacinths contain oxalic acid which can cause skin irritation. Before planting hyacinths, they advised to wet the bulbs and wear gloves.


Shirley said...

Hyacinths are lovely and fragrant too. Some of my favourite spring flowers, Ewa

Shirley Flanagan

Ewa said...

Hello Shirley! Their scent is awesome. True.

rosekraft said...

I was never successful in getting a tall enough stem on my forced hyacinths mainly because of where I live - temperate San Francisco.

Even my basement in winter is not cold enough for forcing bulbs.
The kitchen refrigerator is perfect for chilling bulbs, but too cold for that growing phase before they go onto the windowsill.

Have you seen the heirloom hyacinth varieties offered by Old House Gardens in Michigan?
Every year their catalog tempts me to give bulb forcing another try!

Nell Jean said...

If the blossoms are opening prematurely, take them out of the light until the stems elongate.

I've been quite successful with most of mine this year. I prechill the bulbs before planting.

Lona said...

I love forcing them for winter and have a couple growing now. Yours look so wonderful and you are going to have some blooming at different times to stretch the viewing time.

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

the flowers look neat and beautiful.... I am sure with nice scent.

stadtgarten said...

Beautiful! I love hyazinths, but my husband doesn't like them inside the house because of their smell. So I have to wait until they bloom in the garden.
Have a nice week, Monika

Ewa said...

Nell Jean,
for how long you chill the bulbs? are they planted already? or just loose?
Too many questions...

Ewa said...

Rosecraft, had no idea that there are heirloom hyacinths. Do u know the link?

Ewa said...

Monica, I got curious. Yr husband doesn't like them because of the strong scent or he doesn't like the scent?

Jenny Schouten Short said...

Ewa, these are beautiful photos. I love the fields and fields of them in Holland which smell intoxicating. xo Jenny

rosekraft said...

Pre-chilling loose bulbs in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks.
Just keep them dry and remember not to use them for dinner.
Here is the link to the heirloom bulb seller - be prepared to be amazed!

Vetrimagal said...

Impressive. Never seen such flowers.

We had water Hyacinth in our city ,which was growing too much , and a nuisance.

Ewa said...

Rose, these hyacints are awesome!! thanks!

NellJean said...

I chill my hyacinths as Rosekraft said, loose in a paper bag in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, for at least 8 weeks.

I planted my tulips before chilling. We're waiting for bloom now.

I have some in those pinch-waist vases. Potted in soil is better.

Fabulously french said...

I adore them and have purchased one in a vase that I am "forcing" at present.

A tres bientot,


p.s. So pleased that you left a comment as I have now found your fabulous blog!

Millie said...

Every year I say I'll do this & every year I don't - that must change! You've made it very easy to understand with this post dear Ewa, so I have no more excuses. Have been seeing the Warsaw weather on Down Under TV. You should all receive a Bravery medal at the end of this Winter!
Millie xx

Ewa said...

Dear Millie, I will accept the medal with honour and dignity. These temperatures aren't funny at all!