The Stopwatch Gardener

A gardening blog from Sheila M. Averbuch

How I forced hyacinths in time for Christmas


forced hyacinths

This is the first year I have managed to force sweetly scented hyacinths in time for Christmas. Here’s how I did it:

  1. I bought the bulbs for forcing as soon as they became available in late August
  2. immediately potted them up and watered them and put them in the shed with a bucket on top of them so they would rest in darkness
  3. took them out of the shed the moment I spotted any growth from the top of the bulb – they were also starting to go mouldy so I thought they’d better get out of there straightaway. I wonder if I watered them too much at planting? They were in darkness for about six weeks. When I took them from the shed I checked through the hole at the bottom to ensure they were growing a nice white tangle of roots, as advised by Joe Maiden from BBC Radio Leeds, who knows just about everything about forcing hyacinths. The mould worried me a bit, but I just brushed off the green bits I could see with a dry kitchen towel and hoped for the best.
  4. put them into this bright unheated conservatory you can see above and simply kept them watered.
  5. brought them into a warm room as soon as I saw the little flower buds — this was about three weeks before Christmas.

I’m absolutely thrilled. This is a total first for me! Because I live in Scotland where the autumns and winters are extremely dark, I think the mistake I’d made in previous years was to keep them out of the light for too long.

Let me know if you have any tips on forcing bulbs in time for Christmas.



posted under Bulbs
2 Comments to

“How I forced hyacinths in time for Christmas”

  1. On December 21st, 2013 at 2:04 pm Chloris Says:

    Well done for getting them in time for Xmas. I have forced them so many times but I have never managed to have them looking like that just in time for Xmas. I love the white ones.

  2. On December 21st, 2013 at 10:05 pm The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    The irony is, Chloris, that I kept the hyacinths in the conservatory, away from our party guests this evening, because a lot of people don’t like the smell. But just knowing they’re there makes me so happy! Good luck with yours next year. In future I’m definitely going to err on the side of giving them as much light (not heat) as possible, as early as possible.

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