The hyacinth, with its very decorative and fragrant flower, is a bulbous plant native to the Mediterranean and Asia Minor and arrived in our peninsula at the end of 1500, where it was initially a product accessible only to a few well-off.
In Italy we can also find a wild hyacinth, a hyacinth with a white flower and very fragrant.
The hyacinth, whose botanical name is Hyacinthus, belongs to the family of the Liliaceae and to the genus Hyacinthus. Its name comes from two words of Greek-Albanian origin: giak purpureo, or blood and inthos, plant.
The hyacinth is a perennial flower, which is very easily cultivated both outside and inside, in flowerbeds or pots.
It appears as a large compact and spherical bulb, without stem. At the end of the winter, it produces long leaves, smooth and fleshy, even more than 20 cm long and bright green in color.
The hyacinth flower appears on a thick, firm stem in the centre of the rosettes of leaves. It is grouped in high panicle-like inflorescences, 5 to 15 cm long depending on the variety. It has a tubular shape which opens like a star and can have many colours, white, pink, orange, red, lilac or blue, the most common.
Hyacinth Flower: Variety
To the hyacinth belong many species and some cultivars. The most cultivated varieties are:
- Hyacinthus orientalis, the most common variety. It blooms in April, with large, double, highly perfumed flowers, with a classic bell-shaped shape, and in bright colours ranging from white to pink, red, yellow and blue.
- Hyacinthus romanus, which flowers between April and May, with small white and green flowers.
- Hyacinthus azureus, with a height of even 20 cm. It blooms in March-April and has large leaves and numerous hanging flowers in the shape of a bell, dark blue gathered in a thick, upright ear.
- Hyacinthus fastigiatus, a rustic species native to Sardinia and Corsica. It has a height of about 15 cm, long filiform leaves, and white or pale blue star-shaped flowers. It blooms in March-April.
When to Plant the Hyacinth
The hyacinth should be planted in early autumn, so that the first shoots sprout in spring.
It can be buried also in winter, but in this way, the first flowering is skipped.
The hyacinth is to be planted in a well tilled soil, with the addition of good quality universal soil and a little mature manure or slow release granular fertilizer. If the soil is too clayey, it is necessary to add coarse sand to avoid water stagnation that would cause rottenness of the bulb.
The bulb should be buried with the apex upwards, at a depth of about twice its diameter. If you plant more than one specimen, you should keep a distance of about 15 cm between them.
Once planted, the bulb is to be covered with the soil and watered abundantly.
Flower Hyacinth: Cultivation
The cultivation of hyacinth is very simple and requires only constancy and care, because it is a plant that tends to get wild if not cured.
The cultivation of hyacinth varies depending on whether it is grown outdoors, in the garden, or in pots at home.
- The hyacinth cultivated in the garden does not fear the low temperatures and can be placed also in a very sunny position.
- The hyacinth cultivated in the house, on the contrary, does not want temperatures under the 13° C, but is not to be placed close to a heater. It wants a very bright exposure, but not to direct sunlight.
The hyacinth is not to be watered with too much frequency, because it suffers the stagnations of water.
Before flowering, it may be useful to fertilize the soil with slow release granular fertilizer.
Flower Hyacinth: Reproduction By Seeds
The hyacinth reproduces by dividing from the mother plant the small bulbs which form at the base.
It is also possible to reproduce by seeds, collecting the seeds from the mother plant when they are well mature. This process is more complex and has less chance of success and, in addition, the plants obtained can take up to 5 years to bloom.
Flower Hyacinth: Meaning
There are many legends related to the hyacinth flower.
The most famous one speaks of the god Apollo, madly in love with a young Spartan, the beautiful Hyacinth. He loved him so much that he never left him and, in order to be close to him, the god accepted to become the servant of the mortal Hyacinth. But one day, while they were playing the discus throw, the young man is hit in the head and dies. Then Apollo, shocked by the pain, decided to transform his beloved into a beautiful flower of the same intense color as the blood that Hyacinth had shed from the wound.
According to the language of flowers, hyacinth symbolizes fun and play and, therefore, it is a perfect flower to give to a person who is particularly nice to us. But it can also change meaning, depending on the color. Here, then, is that the white hyacinth indicates beauty, the red one pain and request for forgiveness, the yellow hyacinth jealousy and the blue one constancy.