How to Grow Hyacinths in Water

Hyacinths are best known for ushering in spring in homes and gardens all around the United States. However, it is also possible to grow hyacinths indoors in water, using a method called “forcing.” “Forcing” requires a specialized vase that has an upper portion to keep to keep hyacinths and other bulbs in place, while a lower portion filled with water supports the bulb and lets it absorb moisture and nutrients.

Credit: Christina B Castro / flickr.com

Credit: Christina B Castro / flickr.com

To force hyacinths, buy pre-chilled bulbs that have received a cold treatment imitating winter. You can ask experts at the gardening supplies store for their recommendations. Store the purchased hyacinth bulbs in cool, damp sand until you are ready to force them. The bulbs will flower about 6 weeks after you put them in water, so if you need blossoms for an occasion, count backward to determine the planting time.

Credit: Christina B Castro / flickr.com

Credit: Christina B Castro / flickr.com

Use forcing glasses, or choose containers that will hold the bulbs just above the water and allow room for the roots below, but won’t tip over when the big, heavy flowers arrive. Place a bulb on a vessel and add water until it reaches the bulb’s bottom. You’ll need to change the water twice a week by tipping the liquid out and replacing it with fresh lukewarm water.

Credit: Christina B Castro / flickr.com

Credit: Christina B Castro / flickr.com

Put the bulbs in a cool (40 F to 55 F), dark place until roots develop and leaves begin to sprout, about 3 to 4 weeks. Once foliage begins to develop, move the bulbs to a slightly warmer (65 F), sunlit spot for flowering; a north-facing window is perfect. Turn them daily to prevent leaning, and change the water regularly. Once the blooms have browned and died, throw out the bulbs as the bulbs will not re-bloom

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