|Hyacinthus subsp. var.||Hyacinth|
Hyacinthus is a genus of bulbous flowering plants, formerly placed in the lily family Liliaceae but now regarded as the type genus of the separate family Hyacinthaceae. They are commonly called Hyacinths, and are native to the eastern Mediterranean region east to Iran and Turkmenistan.
Three species are within the genus Hyacinthus:
- Hyacinthus litwinowii
- Hyacinthus orientalis - Common, Dutch or Garden Hyacinth
- Hyacinthus transcaspicus
The related grape hyacinths (Muscari), sometimes called baby's-breath, are very low, mostly blue-flowered plants similar in appearance to hyacinths and are also commonly cultivated.
The Dutch, or Common Hyacinth of house and garden culture (H. orientalis, native to southwest Asia) was so popular in the 18th century that over 2,000 cultivars were cultivated in the Netherlands, its chief commercial producer. This hyacinth has a single dense spike of fragrant flowers in shades of red, blue, white, orange, pink, violet, or yellow. A form of the common hyacinth is the less hardy and smaller blue- or white-petalled Roman hyacinth of florists. These flowers should have indirect sunlight and are to be moderately watered.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Hyacinthus (name from Greek mythology). Liliaceae . Hyacinth. Popular hardy spring-flowering bulbs, producing flowers in shades of blue and red, also white; also grown under glass for winter bloom.
Bulbs tunicated: stemless, the lvs. all radical, linear or strap-shaped, the scape simple: fls. in a simple terminal raceme or spike, erect or spreading or pendulous; perianth funnel-shaped to companulate, nearly or quite equally 6-lobcd; stamens 6, attached at the throat or in the tube: caps, nearly globular, 3-grooved or 3- lobed, dehiscent loculicidally ; seeds rather few. — Of hyacinths there are something over 30 species, the greater part S. African. Others inhabit the Medit. region, and from this source come the common garden kinds. From related genera, Hyacinthus is distinguished by the funnel-shaped or bell-shaped fl., the throat not constricted, the lobes shorter than or at most not much exceeding the tube, the 6 stamens attached to the tube or throat and the filaments thread-like or dilated at the base. For the general cultural requirements, see Bulbs.
H. candicans, Baker~Galtonia. — H. romanus. of Linnaeus is not the H. romanus of horticulturist** (which is the Roman hyacinth, a form of H. orientalis). Linnaes’ species is a blue-white, scilla-like plant.
Culture of the hyacinth.—The perfection of the hyacinth flower depends largely on the strength of the roots, and as the plants make all their root-growth in autumn, the bulbs should be planted early,—say from the beginning to the middle of October. Any good garden soil suits, provided it is well drained. The ground should be carefully prepared by spading to a depth of 20 inches, so that the roots may pass straight through it to their full development of 12 or 16 inches. If the soil is naturally stiff, it may be lightened by the addition of sand, and if the beds have been occupied by other plants during the summer, some clean old cow- manure, well worked in, is recommended. Horse- manure should not be used.
The bulbs should be planted 6 inches deep (to the bottom of the bulbs) and very uniformly, to insure simultaneous flowering. The ground having been prepared as above, perhaps the best way is to remove 3 or 4 inches of the earth, level the bed carefully with the rake and set the bulbs in it 5 or 6 inches apart each way, pressing them in firmly, and then covering them evenly with the earth that has been taken out. When winter sets in, the beds should be covered with 2 inches of dry litter or coarse manure. As soon as the shoots appear above ground in the spring, 1 inch of this covering should be removed and the remainder when danger from late frosts is past.
For large beds and borders, second-size named hyacinths are used to a great advantage. The flower- spikes are not so large as from the first-size bulbs, but the latter when in bloom in the open usually become top-heavy and are often blown down by wind, while the flowers of the second-size bulbs stand more erect and last longer.
Forcing in pots.
For growing indoors in, pots, large, solid bulbs should be chosen, and potted singly in 5-inch pots in a rich compost of loam, leaf-mold and sharp sand. A few pieces of broken pot being placed in the bottom for drainage, the pots should be filled lightly, and the bulbs pressed into the loose soil till only the apex remains above the surface. The pots are then buried to a depth of 8 or 10 inches in the open ground or in a frame for seven or eight weeks, till the roots are developed fully and the sprout is about 1 ½ inches above the bulb. When taken inside, they should be kept in subdued light, at a temperature of about 50°, until the sprout has assumed a vigorous green color. Florists who force large numbers for winter decorations set them under the greenhouse benches for about two weeks, and then force them in a temperature of 70°. A greater heat than this attenuates the growth and weakens the color. Syringing with water twice a day is recommended, and as the flower-spike develops, weak manure-water is helpful. The slower hyacinths are forced, the finer and more lasting will be the bloom. Bulbs wanted in flower for Christmas should be potted in September,^ and for a succession later, at intervals as desired. Single hyacinths are handsomer and force better than the double, although a few of the latter may be recommended. The following are among the best adapted for forcing and are largely grown by American florists:
Single blue.—Grand Maitre, deep lavender-blue. Czar Peter, light blue. King of the Blues, dark blue. Leonidas, clear blue. Queen of the Blues, light blue. Regulus, porcelain-blue. Schotel, pale blue.
Double blue.—Bloksberg, porcelain-blue. Van Speyk, lilac-blue.
Single white. — Angenis Chistina, pure white. Baroness van Thuyll, pure white. Grandeur a Mer- veille, blush-white. La Grandosse, pure white. L'Innocence, pure white. MadameVan der Hoop,pure white. Mimi, blush-white. Paixdd I'Europe.pure white.
Double white.—La Tour d'Auvergne, pure white. Isabella, blush-white.
Single red.—De Wet, light rose. Gertrude, bright pink. Gigantea, bright rose. Lady Derby, lovely pink. La Victoire, brilliant scarlet- red. Moreno, waxy pink. Norma, delicate waxy pink. Robert Steiger, crimson.
Single lilac.—Sir William Mansfield, lilac-mauve.
Single yellow.—-King of the Yellows, deep yellow. Yellow Hammer.
Double yellow.—Goethe. Bright yellow.
Miniature hyacinths, or "Dutch Romans," are small- sized bulbs of the ordinary Dutch hyacinths. They are excellent for growing in groups in bowls, pans or flats, planted close together and treated the same as the large hyacinths when grown in pots.
Culture in glasses.
Some of the single hyacinths may be grown very satisfactorily in water. Special glasses for the purpose can be bought from the seedsmen. They should be filled with pure water and the bulb so placed that its base barely touches the water. The glasses must then be placed in a dark closet or cellar till sufficiently long roots have developed and the main flower shoot is about 3 inches tall. This usually requires eight to earlier than the ordinary Holland-grown stock of the Romans.
The propagation of hyacinths.
With the exception of the Roman hyacinths (which come from the south of France), the world's supply of hyacinth bulbs is produced in Holland. The soil and climate of that country seem to be peculiarly suitable for bulb-growing, which has been one of the leading industries there for 200 years. The bulbs intended for next year's market are planted in October in carefully prepared, richly manured land, and protected over winter by a thick covering of reed or Utter. The flowers are cut when in full bloom in the spring. By July the bulbs are fully ripened, and are taken out of the ground by hand, dried, cleaned and assorted into three grades of quality, according to size. Early in August they are ready for shipping. Overgrown or unshapely bulbs are reserved for propagating. As soon as these are taken out of the ground, three deep cross cuts are made with a sharp knife in the bottom of each bulb. They are ten weeks. Thereafter they may gradually be brought into the light. An airy, sunny situation and a temperature of about 60° regularly maintained will insure the best results. The glasses should be kept filled by adding water occasionally as required. A small piece of wood charcoal placed in the glass tends to keep the water pure and sweet.
The following varieties are especially suited for glasses: Lady Derby, pink. Lord Macaulay, deep rose. Mina, pure white. L'Innocence, pure white. La Vic- tpire, brilliant red. Grand Maitre, blue. Grand Lilas, light blue. King of the Blues, dark blue. Schotel, finest light blue. Mimi, blush-white. MacMahon, pure yellow. Moreno, deep rose. Lord Balfour, lilac tinged violet.
Instead of one large truss from each bulb, the Roman hyacinth produces three or four smaller but more graceful flower-spikes. The bulbs arrive in America in August, and by successive pottings they may be had in flower from November till May. They require the same forcing treatment as the larger hyacinths, but three or four bulbs may be planted in a pot. The florists use wooden flats instead of pots, setting the bulbs close together, forty or fifty in a flat. By reason of its beauty and exquisite fragrance, its earliness and easy culture, the white Roman hyacinth is the most popular of winter-blooming plants. Several millions of these bulbs are grown annually by the florists of the large cities for winter cut-flowers.
Within the last few years, large quantities of Dutch hyacinths have been planted and grown for one year in the south of France, where they ripen off several weeks earlier than in Holland. Consequently, these hyacinths can be forced in bloom two to three weeks then set out, bottom upward, and covered with loose soil for two or three weeks, during which time the cuts open out and the wounds are healed. They are then taken up and kept spread out on tables in storehouses till October, when they are planted out. When lifted next June, nothing of the parent bulb remains but dry skins, on the edges of which twenty to thirty offsets are fastened. These bulblets are picked off by hand and planted out in autumn, just like large bulbs. This process of planting in autumn and taking up in summer for a two months' rest is repeated for four or five years, till the bulbs have attained to marketable size. Another method of propagating is to hollow out the bottom of the bulb smoothly to a point in the center. More offsets are secured in this way, but they are smaller and take a year or two longer to reach maturity. These methods are illustrated in Figs. 1924, 1925.
New varieties are obtained from seed, but as the present leading varieties have attained a very high degree of perfection in form and in color, few seedlings show marked improvements on existing sorts. New varieties are also produced by "sporting," that is, one plant spontaneously assumes a new and different character from the remainder of the stock and from this one plant new stocks are grown. In this way the beautiful light rose variety DeWet sported from single blue Grand Maitre, while single purple Lord Balfour first appeared in a stock of the deep rose Moreno, and so on.
The tendency to produce new varieties should be restricted to distinctive forms and colors. Many of so-called new varieties recently introduced are merely slight alterations in form or color of the parent bulb, not sufficient in appearance to justify calling them new sorts, merely increasing the list of named sorts for advertising or selling purposes. J. M. Thorburn & Co.
Pests and diseases
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963