The Q&A Archives: How To Care For A Hyacinth Received As A Gift

Question: I received a hyacinth plant for my birthday this weekend. I'm new to gardening, so I have no idea what I need to do with it. It's late February here in KC, and the winter has been fairly mild (with occasional time periods of temperatures below freezing). 1) Where should I plant the hyacinth? The south side of the house is the sunniest, the east & west sides get a good amount of sunlight, and the north side gets almost nothing. 2) Is it alright to plant the hyacinth now? I suspect that we'll probably get at least two more "freezes" before spring really kicks in. 3) How deeply should I plant the hyacinth? 4) How often should it be watered? The winter has been a little drier than usual here, but the spring might make up for this. 5) Are there any plants that the hyacinth should not be placed near? We have a new house and we're noticing several plants are sprouting on the south and east parts of the house. I have no idea what they are...weed, aggressive tulips, etc. There's so many of them that there's almost no separate place to plant anything else.

Answer: Hyacinths are fairly cold tolerant so you should be able to plant them outdoors soon. Since these came from a greenhouse you will need to acclimate them to the cooler weather. Place them in a cool (above freezing) spot with very bright light and gradually move them outdoors. Keep the soil slightly moist (not soggy) so that the foliage keeps growing; this will rebuild the bulb so it can bloom again next year. Eventually it will naturally yellow and dry and the bulb will go dormant. Plant them in a sunny spot with good drainage. Water them at planting and about once a week if it doesn't rain. Remember that these will only come up and be visible in the spring, so maybe you can tuck them in somewhere. The plants you see sprouting could be perennials waking up for the spring. Enjoy your new garden!

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