Pot up hyacinths for Christmas

Now's the time to get started to ensure seasonal blooms.

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Hyacinths make great indoor flowering bulbs for Christmas and the New Year and not only do they add colour to a room, they also have a lovely, sweet scent.

If you want to grow your own hyacinths to enjoy over winter, now’s the time to get started. When buying the bulbs it’s important that you get prepared bulbs which are always a little more expensive.

Prepared bulbs have been given a special heat treatment which allows them to be forced into flower earlier than they would naturally flower. If you buy and pot natural hyacinths (not prepared) they will still grow but you won’t get flowers until spring.

To get flowers for Christmas the prepared bulbs need to be planted by the middle of September at the latest and they need to be kept cool and dark for the first 8-10 weeks to allow a strong root system to develop. After this time the bulbs can be brought into a light, cool place for the flowers and foliage to develop.

It’s often thought that the bulbs should be placed somewhere warm, which is totally the opposite of what they want. Warm growing conditions will result in leggy, weak plants. Hyacinth bulbs can cause irritation and itchy skin, so if you have delicate skin, wear cloves when handling.