A. Actually, you can do either, but I would heartily recommend that you plant it outside.  First, prepare a bed for your hyacinth, and it will reward you with many years of color and fragrance.

Hyacinthus orientalis is the parent plant for a huge variety of hybrid hyacinth bulbs that are available in garden centers every fall.  Originally a pale blue or violet flower, cultivars have been developed into a full range of colors including lilacs, pinks, and even a blood red bloom called 'Jan Bos'.

A good garden spot should be one in full sun with average, well-drained soil.  Because the bulb becomes dormant in warm summer weather, the ideal spot should receive little water during this time.  By spreading a 2-to-4-inch layer of compost or chopped leaves over the planting area and working it into the top 10 to 12 inches of soil, you can improve the drainage of most Gulf Coast clay soils.  Just be sure that the bulbs don't sit in water during rainy summer months.  The water will encourage fungal infections and bulb rot.

When the bed is ready, dig a hole 6 to 8 inches for each hyacinth bulb, and set the bulb in the hole.  Carefully replace the soil around the bulb to refill the hole; tamp down the soil with your hands to firm, and water thoroughly.  Apply a 1-to-2-inch layer of mulch around the plants to discourage weed growth and to prevent rain from splashing soil onto bulb leaves and flowers.  Mulch will help keep your plants clean and discourage disease problems.

Generally, with organic matter added to the pre-planting soil and a layer of mulch added after planting, you will not need to fertilize.  However, for those who desire top-notch growth, you can sprinkle a commercial organic fertilizer over the soil.  Try to find a mix blended specifically for bulbs, and follow package instructions.  If such a fertilizer can not be found, then a general garden fertilizer will do.

Watering the bulbs should be only necessary when they are actively growing and the soil is dry.  To test for dryness, pull back the mulch layer and feel the soil.  If it is moist, wait a few days and check again.  When the soil surface feels dry, penetrate the soil about 3 inches.  If it is dry at that depth, it is time to water.  Water by applying it directly to the soil, not through a sprinkler.  If the area to be watered is small, lay the hose end next to the plant, turn the hose on low and water for about 30 minutes or until the soil is moist.  A soaker hose turned on low for a few hours will cover a larger area effectively.

Once the blooms have dried out, remove them.  (This has already occurred in your case.)  However, as long as there are leaves growing from the bulb, it is producing and storing food for next year's blossoms.  Don't remove the leaves until they have turned brown.  Prompt removal is necessary to help prevent fungal diseases.

You will want to mark your hyacinth bed in some fashion once the foliage is gone so that you will remember where it is and what it is.  Hyacinth bulbs will winter well in the soil in the Gulf-Coast area.  Just be patient.  Early in spring, shoots will break through the soil with promises of blossoms to come.


This web site is maintained by Master Gardener Laura Bellmore under the direction of William M. Johnson, Ph.D., County Extension Agent-Horticulture & Master Gardener Program Coordinator.

All digital photographs are the property of  the Galveston County Master Gardener Association, Inc. (GCMGA) 2002-2013 GCMGA - All Rights Reserved.