Credit: Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Centre

Q: Usually I force hyacinth bulbs on my grandmother’s pinch-waisted blue hyacinth glasses. I’d love to try something different. Any ideas?

forcing hyacinth step 1
forcing hyacinth step 2
forcing hyacinth step 3

You’ve discovered the fun of growing hyacinths on water—no soil is needed to grow these fragrant flowers with colourful waxy florets. For a stylish look that’s fresh and modern, try forcing your entire hyacinth in glass, instead of on one.

One: Place bulbs atop several inches of gravel. Add water to a level just beneath the bulbs, but not touching.

To root, cover the vase with a paper bag and place in a cool dark place approximately 7°C (45°F) for 11 to 14 weeks. A refrigerator works fine if you banish apples and ripening fruit; they give off an ethylene gas harmful to young flowers. Check the water level periodically.

When well-rooted and green growth begins, move the vase to a cool bright room.

Two: Enjoy hyacinth growth, contained for easy viewing “under glass.”

Three: Gorgeous hyacinths! Keep cool for longer enjoyment. Freshen water periodically, tip out and refill to a level “just not-touching” bulbs.

Optional: add a dash of activated charcoal to keep water freshest, look for it in the fish department of pet shops.

Click here for a forcing timetable by type of bulb