Tag Archives: forcing vases

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day: Forcing Hyacinths!

Hyacinth Blue Pearl, first flush of flowers

Hyacinth Blue Pearl, first flush of flowers

For Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, the 15th of each month, check out my forced hyacinths. It is easy to force hyacinths to bloom early indoors, just pop bulb into paper bag, put in fridge in the fall, weeks later, take bulb out and plant in soil or water. Last year, on November 13 I put three Blue Pearls in a brown paper lunch bag and put them in the fridge. I wrote a note to pull them out in 10 weeks but really forgot about them and pulled them out after 11 weeks on February 2. I put mine in my three forcing vases, which are pinched vases that allow the bulbs to sit above the water. I have these forcing vases for so many years I don’t know where they came from but you can buy them at large independent garden centers, through online garden supply stores, or sometimes as a boxed combo of bulb and vase. It is not necessary to use these; you can place the bulb on a layer of pebbles or marbles in a wide-mouthed jar, such as a jam or Mason jar; or you can put them in a container of soil.

Hyacinth Blue Pearl in Forcing Vases

Hyacinth Blue Pearl in forcing vases

My Blue Pearls sat in a sunny windowsill in the office and on February 24, within 3 weeks, they were in full bloom — one month before they would have bloomed if they been out in the garden. Colleagues admired the beautiful flowers in my office and could not help commenting on the strong perfume. Three bulbs create such a sweet fragrance they are almost pungent. I cut the flowers and gave each one to a friend, as a cut flower in a vase. My bulbs continued to send up flower stalks for a second flush of flowers in the beginning of March. I cut those and now have a third flush of flowers. These are not as full and large as the first flush but that is okay because the scent is not as strong either. Next time, maybe one hyacinth in the office will suffice.

Hyacinth Blue Pearl, second flush of flowers

Hyacinth Blue Pearl, second flush of flowers

Try buying hyacinth bulbs in the fall to force them to bloom early inside. Compared to other bulbs, hyacinth bulbs are cheap, less than two dollars for high quality, individual bulbs or six or seven dollars for a package of three. From my bulbs, I got three flushes of flowers over a month’s time plus I will be able to plant them in my garden in April for flowers next spring. Hyacinths are very reliable here in Virginia; squirrels and deer do not bother them and they continue to flower year after year. Have you forced hyacinths before and if so, which type?

Hyacinths: Easy, Indoor Winter Blooms

November2014hyacinthamaryllis 121

Box of hyacinth bulb/vase, Merrifield Garden Center

November2014hyacinthamaryllis 159

Assortment of single bulbs at Merrifield Garden Center

Forcing hyacinths to bloom indoors is easy. Although hyacinths need a chilling period, keeping them in a paper bag in the fridge for 8 to 10 weeks will achieve this effect.  Make sure you label the bag so your family does not mistake them for onions. When the chilling period is over, put the bulbs in glass forcing vases or wide-mouth jars with pebbles so the roots are in water and the bulbs are not. Place in indirect light. As they grow, give more light, but avoid direct sun. After flowering, plant the bulbs in the garden in late spring/early summer for flowers in the garden next spring.  Hyacinths are deer resistant and will come back in the garden year after year in our area. Compared to other bulbs, hyacinth bulbs are cheap, less than two dollars for high quality, individual bulbs or six or seven dollars for a package of three. Traditionally, hyacinth vases or forcing vases are used to hold the bulbs.  These are pinched vases that allow the bulbs to sit above the water. I have had mine for so many years I don’t know where they came from but you can buy them at large independent garden centers, through online garden supply stores, or sometimes as a boxed combo of bulb and vase. It is not necessary to use these; you can place the bulb on a layer of pebbles or marbles in a wide-mouthed jar, like a jam or Mason jar.

my forcing vases

my forcing vases

Mine will go into the fridge tonight and 10 weeks later, on January 22, (mark it on the calendar) I will take place them in the forcing vases. I look forward to enjoying the beauty and fragrance for weeks, way before my garden hyacinths bloom outside!