When to Plant Hyacinths
There are two basic truths when it comes to planting hyacinth bulbs in Canada. First, hyacinths need a cold period in order to sprout. However, hyacinths are only hardy to Zone 3 or 4. In northern zones, you may need to lift your hyacinths over winter.
Like most other spring-blooming bulbs, hyacinth bulbs should be planted in the autumn, or kept chilled over the winter. Hyacinths need a cold period to sprout, so plant your hyacinth bulbs after the temperature drops to 60 degrees or below, but before the earth is frozen solid. If you're keeping your hyacinths indoors, you'll still need to give them that cold period. Store your hyacinth bulbs in a cool garage or refrigerator (away from fruit, since fruit can encourage rot) and plant them outdoors when the weather warms enough to work the soil.
Where to Plant Hyacinth Bulbs
Hyacinth bulbs prefer full sun, and should receive at least six to eight hours per day. They also need well-drained soil, so don't choose a location where water puddles. You can add loam or compost to help improve soil drainage in heavy-soil locations. Other than providing nutritional, sun, and water needs, hyacinths are a plant with many possibilities!
Tall hyacinths can be planted in the back of a bed or border, and this is an exceptionally nice choice for giant hyacinth varieties. These also make excellent container plants, and you may want them up close and personal on a porch or patio, so you can enjoy their beautiful spring fragrance. Or, naturalize a large patch of hyacinths for a statement in the garden. Whatever you choose, your hyacinths will be sure to steal the show in late spring.
Caring for Hyacinth Bulbs After Flowering
After hyacinths are done flowering, leave the foliage intact. However, you can cut off and discard faded flowers. Your hyacinths' leaves will die back a few weeks after the blooms fall off, and then you can cut off the leaves. Wait until the leaves die back before cutting back any foliage. The bulbs need that period of photosynthesis after flowering to produce and store energy.
After the leaves and foliage have been clipped back, your hyacinths are in a summertime resting phase. You don't need to water them regularly, and can allow them to rest until fall. In autumn, either mulch over your bulbs (in zones 3 and 4) or lift them to store over winter.
Can You Grow Hyacinths in Canada?
Hyacinths can certainly be grown in Canada! However, in parts of the north, they'll need to be lifted in winter. Most hyacinths are hardy to Zone 4, or possibly Zone 3. That means that they can stay in the ground in those zones, even over the deepest freeze of winter. In Zone 3, mulch over your bulbs heavily to help mitigate any frost damage.
Do You Need to Lift Hyacinth Bulbs?
If you're gardening in Zone 1 or 2, or if your hyacinths are only hardy to a zone warmer than yours, the answer is yes! After the bulbs have bloomed and died back, leave the foliage on the plant until the leaves die back naturally. Then, trim foliage down and allow the bulb to rest over summer in its dormant state. Before the ground freezes, lift the bulbs using a spade or shovel. Allow the bulbs to cure for two days, laying them on cardboard or paper in a cool and dry location within plenty of airflow between the bulbs. After they've cured, store your bulbs in a cool, dry location, in plastic or mesh bags. Refrigerate them or keep them in cold storage for three months before replanting.