Growing Hyacinth in a Hyacinth Bulb Vase
Growing Hyacinths Indoors in Antique Hyacinth Glasses
Growing hyacinths indoors in antique hyacinth glasses is a Christmas and winter tradition dating back to the Victorian era. During Victorian times, upper and middle class ladies and gentlemen became keenly interested in botany. Glass houses and greenhouses became popular, and growing indoor flowers and plants was considered an elegant and suitable pursuit for ladies and gentlemen of quality. Victorians loved exploring and growing new flower bulbs, and while hyacinths had been known in England for quite some time, they began growing bulbs indoors so that the sweetly scented blossoms would bloom just in time for Christmas. In an age when disagreeable odors were hard to mask except through perfume, and regular baths uncommon except in very rich households, growing hyacinths for their rich and heavy perfume indoors when windows were shut must have been a great discovery. The cheerful blossoms welcome Christmas, and the tradition of forcing hyacinths or growing hyacinths in hyacinth glasses continued through the Edwardian era. Today, it's not as common to grow hyacinths indoors as it is to grow other holiday plants such as amaryllis, but you can still find hyacinth glass on sale in garden centers and auction sites. It's not hard to do, and the beautiful blossoms are their own reward.
How to Force Hyacinth Bulbs or Grow Hyacinth Flowers Indoors
The term "forcing" means encouraging flowering bulbs to bloom indoors, rather than planting them in the garden and waiting for nature to transform the bulb into a flower. Forcing simply means arranging the bulb's circumstances and conditions so that it's fooled into growing and flowering.
Purchase hyacinth flower bulbs from your local garden center or online from a good internet gardening company. Hyacinth glass vases are shaped sort of like an hourglass, with a larger section at the bottom and a narrow opening at top. You can find them in many colors. Antique Victorian hyacinth glass are quite collectible, and are beautiful to display on their own when not in use. Many have a crackled appearance to the glass that only lends to its ambiance. Colors for antique and vintage hyacinth glass are usually dark purple, hunter green or cobolt blue.
To force hyacinth bulbs for the holidays, purchase your bulbs and vase. Fill the vase with water and set the hyacinth bulb, point side up (like a chocolate kiss) in the vase. Make sure that the water level is just touching the bottom of the bulb, and don't let the water level drop. Place the container in a cool, dark spot until the leaves and roots emerge. Remember, you're trying to coax the bulb into growing. In nature, it would be deep within the soil in a cool, dark place. You've got to mimic those conditions in your hyacinth glass.
Once the leaves and roots emerge, move it to a warm, sunny location. The hyacinth should bloom in about 2-3 weeks after leaves and roots emerge. Keep the water level adequate, and you can expect to enjoy the hyacinth blossoms for up to 6 weeks once they begin blooming.
Holiday Decorating with Hyacinths
You can enjoy one beautiful hyacinth flower in a hyacinth glass on your desk or as a centerpiece. Many people enjoy using several hyacinth glass vases of various colors and sizes, and creating a grouping on a sunny windowsill or as a centerpiece for the holidays. It's a beautiful way to bring new life into the house during the darkest days of the winter.
Once your bulbs are finished flowering, you can try potting them in houseplant soil and growing them on a sunny windowsill. When spring arrives, transplant into the garden, and enjoy it for many years to come.