The hyacinth has been around for quite a while. In fact, you may still purchase varieties from the 1800s. Legend has it that the Greek gods Apollo and Zephyr adored and fought over a young Greek boy. In a jealous rage, Zephyr accidentally killed the boy, and Apollo named the flower that arose from the boy’s blood the hyacinth.
What does it mean?
In the language of flowers, hyacinths have several meanings, but being associated with Apollo, they generally represent games and sports.
- blue hyacinth: constancy, sincerity
- red or pink hyacinth: playful nature
- purple hyacinth: apology or sorrow
- white hyacinth: beauty and loveliness
Whichever color you choose, the hyacinth is a lovely compliment to any garden.
How to plant hyacinth bulbs
Pick a spot in full sun or partial shade and plant 4 to 6 weeks before the first fall frost.
- Dig a hole 4 inches deep, or if you are in the north, 6-8 inches deep. Keep the holes spaced about 3 inches apart.
- Add a little bone meal and mix it with the dirt.
- Set the bulb in the hole with the pointy end up.
- Cover with dirt.
- If the fall is dry, water.
After the hyacinth blooms in the spring, you may cut back the flower stalk but let the leaves wither naturally before removing them.
If you forgot to plant hyacinth bulbs but would really like some, you may purchase forced hyacinth bulbs almost anywhere in the spring. Grocery stores, florists, and nurseries will have forced bulbs for sale. Every year, I buy several more of these. I love the smell in the house, and when they are done blooming, I plant the bulbs in my garden. Of course, if you have the bulbs, you may force the hyacinth to bloom in the house.
Although rare, hyacinth poisoning can happen if ingested. Keep the bulbs away from young children and animals to be safe.
Hyacinths will return year after year and keep providing an incredible fragrance.