The hyacinth is a small genus of perennials that tend to bloom in the spring. These are fragrant plants that have gorgeous blooms. The plant is native to the Eastern Mediterranean region.
It can be found in parts of Northern Bulgaria, as well as the Northern regions of Palestine. The hyacinth’s color usually varies from the softer hues of blue to the sharper shades of pink.
The Victorians actually loved the hyacinth because of the lingering fragrance it leaves behind in the air. The plant can be grown in rows with multiple shades one after the other.
Keep in mind that these are perennial bulbs and can be planted outdoors in the soil as well.
However, because of its aesthetic appeal and its unique patterns and design, the hyacinth has fast become a popular choice for people who want to grow it indoors. This is one of the most popular plants that can be added into the soil in a pot and grown with ease.
But, you should know that proper care must be taken if you want the hyacinth to bloom. Even after the plant has flowered, it requires a considerable amount of care.
How to Care for the Hyacinth After Flowering
After at least three to four months of blooming, you will notice the plant going dormant. A clear sign of this is when the leaves start to die. With the passage of time, you will also notice that the leaves will wither and fall off too.
When you notice that a majority of the flowers have turned brown, it is time for you to get rid of the entire flower stalk. This procedure is very important and is known as deadheading.
Basically, this is important because the plant is still expending energy to support the brown flower stalk. This consumes important resources and prevents the plant from recovering quickly.
By getting rid of the damaged or dying flower stalks, you essentially make it easy for the plant to divert resources to grow better. Keep in mind that when you deadhead at this point, the foliage will still be a vibrant shade of green.
There’s no reason to cut that off; let the foliage die of its own accord. It’s important that you do not bend or break the leaves while you are deadheading, as this can cause issues with energy storage.
The plant will not be able to store an adequate amount of energy that it needs for the next blooming period. More importantly, you will also have to replenish the nutrients for your plant.
To do this, you must feed the plant with high-quality fertilizer. It’s preferable that you buy indoor plant fertilizer as that will allow your hyacinth to build up even more energy.
A common mistake that many people make is that they tend to overwater their hyacinth. Always check the soil with your fingers before you water the plant. If the soil is wet, you might want to hold off for a bit.
Do not water the plant too much, as the bulbs are prone to rotting. If the soil is waterlogged, the plant might succumb to root rot.
With time, the leaves will also turn brown and wither and die. Don’t worry about this – it’s the natural life cycle of the plant. Once the leaves are gone, you need to cut the plant all the way down to the soil.
Make sure you leave the roots and the bulb. Then, you must keep your pot in a cold and dark spot. You have to filter out the light that your plant is receiving.
To do that, you might want to consider putting a black paper bag on top of it. If you don’t have one, use a conventional grocery paper bag. This is going to keep the light out.
Your plant will need this time to recover. Do not touch it until the spring season starts, and then bring it out in the light. With time, you will notice new shoots growing, and your plant will start to grow again.
Obviously, this is just one of the many problems you might experience with your hyacinth. Here are a few others.
Brown Spots on Leaves and Stems
The hyacinth is susceptible to frost injuries, and if you keep it in a terrace or anywhere with an open window, it could prove to be a problem. One of the clearest indicators of this is the appearance of brown spots on the stem and the leaves.
If your plant was touched by a late spring frost (could be through an open window), you might notice brown spots appearing.
In some cases, the leaves might split and you will notice the plant taking on a raggedy appearance. There’s a pretty simple way to prevent this from happening.
If the plant is kept outdoors, bring it in. If it’s near an open window, close it right away. Move the plant away from increasingly cold rooms. That’s about it!
Sparse Florets Due to Old Bulbs
The hyacinth is known for its stunning appearance. However, you should know that this appearance is most common during its first blooming season.
Obviously, in the following seasons, the plant will continue to bloom. But, you will notice the florets becoming less and less with the passage of time. More importantly, the florets might not seem that stiff when they are kept upright either.
In fact, some homeowners don’t really mind the slightly drooping stems.
To improve the condition of the bulbs and to make sure that they get all of the nutrients that they require, it is important that you add an appropriate amount of fertilizer to your hyacinth.
Bulb fertilizer or bone meal fertilizer are both excellent choices, and you must fertilizer your plant as the spring season begins.
As mentioned above, it’s important that you leave the foliage once the blossoms come to an end so that the bulbs are able to store the nutrients that they require for the subsequent season.
Distorted Foliage Due to Bulb Mites
This is a serious problem that needs to be taken care of right away. Bulb mites are microscopic insects. They are virtually invisible to the human eye (you have to look really close to spot one).
Each mite has four pairs of legs. They also have mouth parts with piercers and suckers, and their bodies are generally incredibly compact. They also have a thing for the hyacinth plant.
Under the ground, these mites cause the bulbs to turn hard. Their color also changes to a chocolate brown. Each day, hundreds of mites tend to feed on the bulb, until it eventually crumbles and turns completely dry.
The real issue with mite damage is that it leaves your plant completely vulnerable to attacks from other pests as well. It can also succumb to many diseases.
The best way to control a mite infestation is to get rid of all the bulbs that have been affected. If there are other dormant bulbs but you are not sure if they are infested or not, you might want to soak them in hot water.
Make sure that the temperature of the water is not below 110°F. Keep them submerged for at least three hours before you decide to take them out.
Softened Bulbs Due to the Narcissus Bulb Fly
Your indoor hyacinths are also susceptible to the Narcissus bulb fly. This is a large and pretty hairy fly, and at first glance, many people might mistake it for a bumblebee.
This fly really likes the hyacinth because it lays its eggs there. The larvae live in the bulbs, and this affects the texture of the bulb.
With time, it becomes more and more spongy, and eventually rots altogether. You have to control the infestation as quickly as possible. The best way to do that is by soaking the bulbs in hot water above 110°F.
It’s also important that you feel the bulbs yourself. Get rid of any bulbs that feel too soft.
Bulb Nematodes Attack Your Plant
Bulb nematodes are also likely to attack the hyacinth from time to time. Keep in mind that nematodes are not insects, they are essentially unsegmented roundworms.
They are generally microscopic and like to live in the soil. However, they have piercing mouthparts and really like to feed on the plant cells.
If your hyacinth gets infested, it will start to look wilted and its growth will get stunted. The foliage will turn bronze or yellow as well.
The plant will continue to decline with the passage of time as their root systems won’t have developed properly. Eventually, the bulbs will sustain damage as well.
To combat this problem, you need to add large amounts of compost to your soil. This will promote the growth of beneficial fungi. You also need to learn about controlling the nematodes so that they don’t cause harm to your plants.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.