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Forcing Hyacinths

My daughter is getting married on May 13th and would love to use hyacinth's planted in decorated clay pots on the dinner tables. Since cost is an issue I was wondering if there is a safe time to start bulbs in the house to be ready for a May 13th wedding.   

Hyacinths like other spring flowering bulbs need a cold period to initiate flowering.  Prepared bulbs have received some chilling and need an additional 10 weeks and regular bulbs need 13 weeks of cool temperatures of 40 to 48 degrees. Fortunately more garden centers are carrying pre-cooled bulbs.  These bulbs just need to be planted, the soil watered when slightly dry and given 4 to 6 weeks to bloom.  Timing is always a challenge.  Store the bulbs in a spare refrigerator until it is time to start the flowering process.  Avoid storing bulbs with apples and other fruit that gives off a ripening hormone, ethylene, that can interfere with flowering.  As the wedding date approaches you can hasten flowering by moving plants to a slightly warmer location or delay bloom by keeping plants in a cool location. An affordable and attractive alternative would be pansies.  Readily available in the spring, lots of color options and many are fragrant.  These combine nicely with hyacinths so you can use both if everything works as planned.


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