How to plant hyacinth bulbs

Do it:

Oct, Nov

Takes just:

30 minutes

At its best:

Feb, Mar

Hyacinth bulbs are widely available and will produce a broad spectrum of colours. Whatever their shade, hyacinths look spectacular planted on their own in a rustic terracotta pot. Growing hyacinth bulbs in a pot or container is a quick and easy job for autumn, that will reap stunning rewards in early spring.

Be sure to buy ‘prepared’ hyacinth bulbs, and not the cheaper garden hyacinths. Prepared bulbs receive special temperature treatment before they go on sale, which initiates flower bud development.

Discover how to create your display of fragrant hyacinths, below.

You will need

  • Hyacinth bulbs
  • Large terracotta pot
  • Horticultural grit
  • Loam
  • Compost
  • Sharp sand


Spread a good layer of horticultural grit in the bottom of your container to help the compost drain efficiently in wet weather, then add a mix of loam, compost and sharp sand and spread a 5cm layer over the grit. Gently firm in so there are no air pockets.

Discard any hyacinth bulbs that look damaged or diseased then place the remaining bulbs evenly in the pot about 5cm apart. Continue to add hyacinth bulbs until the container is full and gently push them down so that they are all in good contact with the container.

Cover the bulbs with a 10cm layer of your compost mix.

Settle the compost in by watering, then keep watering regularly to ensure a good display of blooms.


When buying bulbs to plant outdoors, avoid those that have been specially treated to flower indoors at Christmas.

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