How to Winterize Hyacinth Bulbs

Overview

Hyacinths are fragrant spring favorites, made even more special if they can be "forced," or stimulated to grow indoors while winter still holds sway outside. Like several other kinds of bulbs, hyacinths require a period of winterization before they will grow and bloom. There are several ways to provide hyacinth bulbs with an artificial winter, letting them confuse indoor warmth with real spring weather and encouraging them to bloom early.

Step 1

Place bulbs in an opened bag of peat moss (full or partial), making sure bulbs are buried at least 3 inches deep. Moisten peat moss with 1-2 cups of water, and close the bag. Put the bag in a cold garage or unheated basement area for 8-10 weeks (bulbs stored this way in late October/early November will be ready to bring indoors in early January). Check the bag every 2-3 weeks, to make sure peat moss remains moist, not wet. Bulbs will begin to develop roots. Remove from the bag and place with potting soil in pots or planters when roots have sprouted in clusters on the bottoms of the bulbs.

Step 2

Make it easy to shorten natural winter for bulbs planted outdoors. Place bulbs in soil-filled pots in the fall. Dig a trench 2-4 inches deeper and wider than your pots. Fill the bottom of the trench with wood chips, place the pots level with soil, and put wood chips all around them. This way, when the ground freezes, pots can still be removed in early January because the woodchips will not hold them too tight to budge. Bring pots inside.

Step 3

Use your refrigerator to provide winter if your climate is warm year-round or you have no good outdoor storage space. Fill zip-close freezer bags with damp peat moss and bulbs and place in the back of your refrigerator for 8-10 weeks. Check every week or so, to make sure that bulbs do not rot in this air-tight damp environment. Bring them out when good roots have developed, and plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Hyacinth bulbs
  • Peat moss
  • Water
  • OR:
  • Bulbs
  • Pots and potting soil
  • Wood chips
  • Trowel or spade
  • Ziploc bags

References

  • Instructions from a Southern US County Extension
Keywords: hyacinth bulbs, winterize, how to

About this Author

Janet Beal holds a Harvard B.A. in English and a College of New Rochelle M.S in early childhood education. She has worked as a college textbook editor, HUD employee, caterer, and teacher. She is pleased to be part of Demand Studios' exciting community of writers and readers.