How long do you soak hyacinth seeds before planting?

Updated February 21, 2017

Hyacinths are spring flowering bulbs that produce bell-shaped flowers on tall 6- to 8-inch spikes. The flowers bloom year after year on the same plants but tend to produce lesser blossoms as their stems grow longer, though their scent remains unaffected. Hyacinth bulbs are planted in the fall in groups. It is not easy to propagate the flowers from seed and it takes three to six years for plants grown from seed to blossom. Hyacinth seeds are hard coated and should be soaked for 48 hours before planting to help the germination process.

Growing Hyacinths from Seeds

Hyacinths are hardy perennials that are best and most commonly propagated with bulbs. The new bulb offsets are separated and planted again in the fall. Though seeds are used, this is generally not a preferred method because it takes many years for the plants to go from seed to bloom. The seeding method for hyacinths is only used for the creation of new varieties of the plant. The seeds of many flowers including hyacinth may be soaked and presprouted before they are planted. Hard-coated seeds like hyacinth are soaked for about 48 hours in plain water. Then they are placed in a single layer between five to six layers of damp paper towels. The seed-containing paper towels are then placed into an unsealed plastic bag and keep in a spot in the kitchen. They do not have to be placed in the refrigerator. Some seeds may start to sprout in three or four days while others may take a few weeks. Remove sprouts and plant them a half inch deep in a sunny spot. The soil should be kept damp but not wet.

Growing Hyacinths from Bulbs

Hyacinths are fairly easy to grow and their bulbs need to be planted in the fall. The size of the flowers depends upon the size of the bulbs planted. The bulbs should be planted 8 inches deep with their pointed ends upward. They should be spaced about 3 to 4 inches apart and in groups. They grow best in sun or partial shade in rich, loose and well drained soil. After planting the bulbs, they need to be watered and covered with a 2-inch-thick mulch layer like shredded bark. When the flowers start, they appear initially as light green buds. These shoot up as flowers in just a few days. Hyacinth bulbs should be handled with care as they can irritate eyes and skin. It is recommended to use gloves when handling bulbs. The plants are rarely bothered by diseases and insects. When the flowering season is over the leaves needs to turn yellow naturally before foliage is cut to the ground. Bulbs can be left in the ground for the winter in colder temperatures or removed and stored to replant in spring.

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About the Author

Irum Sarfaraz is a freelance writer with over 20 years of nonfiction writing experience in newspaper op-eds and magazine writing, book editing, translating and research writing. Sarfaraz is originally from Pakistan and has been published in both American and Pakistani newspapers and magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, and diplomas in nonfiction writing.