How to Grow a Hyacinth Bulb in Water

Three Parts:Pre-Cooling Your Hyacinth BulbPlanting the Hyacinth BulbBlooming the Hyacinth

Growing hyacinths in water (sometimes called forcing hyacinths) is a beautiful way to bring a touch of color and a gorgeous scent to your home. Although it's a somewhat lengthy process, growing the bulbs in water can help your hyacinth blooms last for weeks. Hyacinth bulbs produce fragrant blooms, ranging in color from light pinks to deep purples. Bulb vases, also known as hyacinth vases or forcing jars, hold the hyacinth bulb above water while giving the roots access to the space and water they need to grow.

Part 1
Pre-Cooling Your Hyacinth Bulb

  1. Image titled Grow a Hyacinth Bulb in Water Step 1
    Buy hyacinth bulbs from your local floral or garden shop. Hyacinth bulbs are typically sold in bundles of 3, and there are often deals when you buy multiple bundles at once. Bundles of hyacinth bulbs that are not pre-chilled usually cost $5-$7. Bundles of hyacinth bulbs that are pre chilled usually cost $12-$15.
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    Cool your hyacinth bulbs before planting them. All hyacinths need a cooling period of 12-14 weeks to develop an adequate root system, otherwise they will not properly grow. If you cannot find pre-chilled hyacinth bulbs, this step is absolutely vital.
    • Store your bulbs in a dark area with temperatures between 35-45º Fahrenheit. Great examples of these locations include fridges, outdoor sheds, garages, or even potted damp sand.
    • Be careful when storing your bulbs in the fridge. Certain fruits produce ethylene gas that will cause your hyacinth bulbs to rot and/or become sterile. If you decide to cool your bulbs in the fridge, don’t place any fruit in the fridge during the cooling process.[1]
    • Don’t expose bulbs to freezing temperatures, otherwise they will become damaged.
    • Wear gloves when handling hyacinth bulbs, as they can cause a skin irritation.[2]
  3. Image titled Grow a Hyacinth Bulb in Water Step 3
    Purchase pre-chilled hyacinth bulbs to speed up the process. Most floral and garden shops sell pre-chilled hyacinth bulbs, so be sure to ask for them when you're shopping. Buying pre-chilled bulbs will speed up your hyacinth growing process by 8-12 weeks.[3]
    • Pre-chilled hyacinth bulbs can sometimes be a bit more expensive than the non-chilled bulbs, but the time they'll save you will be well with the extra cost.

Part 2
Planting the Hyacinth Bulb

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    Find a suitable container to grow your hyacinth bulb. Bulb vases, also called forcing jars, are the perfect shape for forcing bulbs; they are designed with a narrow neck that holds the bulb above water, and a wide base that allows the roots to dangle and grow in the water. The wide base of bulb vases will allow your hyacinth to fully bloom without knocking over the vase.[4]
  2. Image titled Grow a Hyacinth Bulb in Water Step 5
    Fill your container with enough water so that it is up to, but not touching, the bottom of the hyacinth bulb. Leave 1/4″ between the water and the base of the bulb, as bulbs sitting in water are prone to rot. Using forcing jars are ideal because they are cinched at the waist and allow the bulbs to sit nicely above the water.[5]
  3. Image titled Grow a Hyacinth Bulb in Water Step 6
    Set your bulb on top of the cinched neck of your vase, with the root end facing down. Make sure that your bulb is sitting just above the water, but that no water is actually touching it. Its roots will slowly grow into water in the base of the vase, and the hyacinth will slowly begin to bloom.[6]

Part 3
Blooming the Hyacinth

  1. Image titled Grow a Hyacinth Bulb in Water Step 7
    Place the hyacinth bulb and vase in a cool and dark area (40-55º F), such as your garage or refrigerator. Keep cool for roughly 4 weeks, or until the hyacinth's root system has developed in the water of the jar and growth from the top of the bulb has begun.
    • As previously mentioned, do not store your hyacinths in a refrigerator with fruits. The gas from fruits will damage your hyacinth's growth.[7]
    • Change the container's water twice per week. Keeping fresh water in your vase will help your hyacinth to bloom fully and beautifully.[8]
  2. Image titled Grow a Hyacinth Bulb in Water Step 8
    Move the bulb and vase to a warmer, somewhat brighter place (50-60º F) once it is ready. You'll know the hyacinth is ready to be moved once the foliage has grown to be about 2 inches tall and the root system has extended to the bottom of the vase. Keep the bulbs in this location for about a week, or until its shoots have turned green.[9]
  3. Image titled Grow a Hyacinth Bulb in Water Step 9
    Move the hyacinth plant to a brighter location (roughly 65º F) to allow it to fully bloom. Hyacinths reach toward sunlight, so turn your vase daily to prevent the plant from leaning in one direction. After 2 weeks or so, your hyacinths will be fully fragrant and bloomed, and should last for another 2 weeks before they begin to wilt.[10]
    • Although you want to move the hyacinth to a brighter location, avoid direct sunlight.
    • Enjoy the fragrance of the plant. Once the hyacinth flowers have bloomed, their scent will be beautiful.
    • Throw out the bulbs once the hyacinth has died. Water forcing uses all of the energy that bulbs have to offer, and the bulbs will be too weak to re-bloom. You'll have to get more bulbs to grow more hyacinths.[11]

Things You'll Need

  • Container, ideally a forcing jar or bulb vase.
  • Water
  • Hyacinth bulb

Article Info

Categories: Growing Flowers | Indoor and Patio Plants