Hyacinthus hyacinth

(hi-ah-sin' thus)

Common name:Hyacinth, Dutch /Common/Garden Hyacinth

Family: asparagus family (Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae, formerly listed in the lily family

Height x width: 6-10" x 3"

Growth rate: moderate to fast

Bulbs: rounded with point on top, outer scales flaky, outer color often reflective of flower color, generally 2" across and fairly uniform

Foliage: 3-4 basal, straplike leaves, margins upturned as in a boat keel, up to 1" wide and 10" long

Flowers: individual flowers 1" long with 6 spreading and reflexed perianth segments; extremely fragrant; 15-30 or more flowers per cylindrical raceme; many colors; spring.

Hardiness: hardy bulb, zones 3-7

Soil: well-drained, fertile; best growth in soil with organic matter and sand

Light: sun

Pests and problems: bacterial rot, viruses, aphids, nematodes although none serious

Landscape habit, uses: mass in formal borders or beds, containers, force indoors

Other interest:native to west and central Asia; named after Spartan youth of Greek mythology Hyakinthos who, when accidentally killed by god Apollo, had hyacinths spring up where his blood fell.

Other culture: flowers become smaller each year, lasting usually 3-5 years before discarding; graded by bulb size, the larger the number the larger the bulb and better flower although larger and more likely to need staking.

Propagation: bulblets from mother bulb which increase slowly, so should be purchased for fall planting; also bulblets form if mother bulb is cut ½" deep crosswise.


orientalis (or-ee-en-tal' iss)--only species of commerce, only 2 other species in genus.

Cultivars: (of orientalis) those marked * are among the most commonly seen 

Cultivars flowers
'Aeolus' ivory white
'Amethyst' lilac
'Anna Marie' light pink
'Blue Blazer' violet blue
'Blue Giant' light blue
*'Blue Jacket' blue and purple
'Carnegie' white
*'City of Haarlem' yellow
*'Delft Blue' blue
'Distinction' deep red-violet
*'Gypsy Queen' salmon orange
'Hollyhock' double red
'Jan Bos' cherry red
'Lady Derby' pink
'L'Innocence' white
'Myosotis' pale blue
'Ostara' blue-violet
'Peter Stuyvesant' purple
*'Pink Pearl' deep pink
'Pink Perfection' medium pink
'Purple Passion' red-purple
'Queen of the Whites' white
'Rose of Naples' blush pink, double
'Splendid Cornelia' mauve violet, darker veins
'Violet Pearl' lilac purple
'White Pearl' white

(cultivar photos courtesy commons.wikimedia.org)

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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