Hyacinths - what's happening?

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Fri, 02 Mar 2012 16:07:51 PST
The best perennializing garden hyacinth I've grown is 'Innocence', 
the standard white one. It has increased for more than 20 years in my 
former garden. The dark crimson 'Woodstock' flowered every year but 
didn't increase on its own. I usually grow a pot or two of hyacinths 
for the patio -- they can be too fragrant in the house -- and plant 
the bulbs out after they go dormant. My favorite pot is white and two 
shades of blue hyacinths in a wide blue-glazed container.

Sometimes you can purchase "Roman" hyacinths, also called 
"multi-flowering," which produce two or three stems per bulb and 
increase well. They are small and come in blue, white, and pink. Good 
perennials in this region (Pacific Northwest).

Flowering in the bulb house now are Hyacinthus orientalis ssp. 
chionophyllus (Archibald collection), which I think is a 
high-elevation form of the ancestor of the garden hyacinths; it is 
small and bright blue, very fragrant. Also, H. litvinovii (Mike 
Salmon collection), which is a larger plant more resembling the 
garden hyacinths, but the flowers are rather dull in color, being 
white with gray-blue accents. Another I have is H. tabrizianus, but 
it is too young to flower.

Along with these there are many species of Hyacinthella coming into 
flower. These are very small plants, mostly with bright to dark blue 
flowers, and one white (H. leucophaea). I think the only one 
commercially available is H. dalmatica 'Grandiflora', which is in 
fact more impressive than the wild form of that species, which I grew 
from seed. Though they don't increase vegetatively as far as I have 
seen, hyacinthellas are easy from seed and pretty in a container.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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