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Handsome Hyacinths

The scent of hyacinth filling the air is one of spring's most intoxicating fragrances. These bright, tubular flowers are native to the Middle East and south-west Asia and were first introduced to Europe during the 16th century. Adopted by Dutch growers (of course) there are now more than 2,000 cultivars with approximately 60 in commercial cultivation.

All About Hyacinth

Availability: November – May, peaking December to March.

Vase Life: 7-10 days.

Colour range: From the purest white to deepest purple, with shades of yellow, pink, cerise and blue in between.

Preferred Temperature Range for maximum vase life: 2-5°C.

Conditioning on Arrival

Growers cut hyacinths with part of the bulb still attached to the bottom of the stem, this is deliberate as it improves the flower’s ability to take up water and nutrients. If possible, when re-cutting, leave as much of the bulb as is practical. They also may need rinsing to remove soil and the sticky sap that they exude.

Hyacinth will expand as they open, so don’t pack them too closely together.

Some people have an allergic reaction to the sap of hyacinth, it can cause skin to become red and itchy. Always wash hands and tools after handling them.

The bulbs and flowers are poisonous so should be kept out of the way of pets and children.

Using in Design Work

As they mature, hyacinths tend to become top heavy and flop over, to get round this carefully insert a slim garden cane, (kebab sticks are ideal) or a thick wire up the centre of the stem, stopping just before it reaches the flower head.

Because of its fleshy stem, hyacinths are not ideal for use in floral foam. If they need to be added to a design in foam such as a funeral tribute, make a hole first to help anchor it in. It is possible to stake and tape the flower but that can be very fiddly.

Individual hyacinth florets can be ‘pipped’ i.e. taken off the stem and individually wired to be added or glued into corsages.

And finally...

Hyacinthus is a member of the asparagus family, which is not so outlandish as it first sounds when you consider the make-up of its stem and the shape of its leaves.


Su Whale is a florist and freelance writer with over twenty-five years' experience in the floristry industry. She is the author and publisher of three best-selling books: Cut Flowers, 4th edition (2020) Cut Foliage, 2nd Edition, (2021) and Houseplants (2019), all bookshelf essentials for the professional florist.




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