By: Kristi Waterworth
One of the most welcome signs of spring is the emergence of the fragrant and stout hyacinth. Whether grown in the ground or indoors in a pot, the flowers of this plant promise the end of cold temperatures and frost to gardeners everywhere. Unfortunately, problems aren’t uncommon, with the hyacinth plant turning brown among the most frequently encountered. Find out if your hyacinth has a real problem or if it’s just going through its normal lifecycle in this article.
Before you panic because your hyacinth is browning, take a deep breath. Browning hyacinth plants aren’t always a cause for concern. In fact, it’s often just a signal that they’ve done their thing for the year and are getting ready to shed their flowers or go into dormancy. If your plant is turning brown, check these things before panicking:
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Hyacinths (Hyacinthus spp.) are favorite flower bulbs for their intense fragrance and early blooms in shades of pink, purple, blue, red, yellow and white. The trumpet-shaped flowers grow on a single stalk with as many as 40 tiny flowers in a cluster. Hyacinths are staple flowers in early spring garden centers, commonly sold in pots to bring color and fragrance to dreary, early spring days. Whether you buy a potted hyacinth or plan to grow the plant from a bulb, you can increase the blooming period with proper attention to light and temperature needs.
Plant one bulb, with the pointed tip up, in a 4- to 8-inch pot containing equal parts sterile soil, sphagnum peat and perlite or vermiculite. Do not cover the tip of the bulb with the potting mix. Plant the bulbs approximately four months before you wish to force blooming in the hyacinth.
Chill the pots for a minimum of 10 to 13 weeks at a temperature of 35 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area that doesn't receive a cold period for this amount of time, you can place the pot in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. Cover the pots with plastic wrap and water regularly to maintain moisture in the soil, which tends to dry out faster in the refrigerator.
Remove the pots from cold storage and place in a window with direct sunlight and temperatures of approximately 60 degrees F. Leave the plants in the space for two to three weeks to force the bulbs to flower. Water the plants regularly to keep the soil moist.
Move the plant to an area with partial sunlight or partial shade and temperatures of about 60 degrees F when the plants begin to flower, in order to keep the flowers for a longer period of time. If you purchased a potted hyacinth, begin care procedures from this step.
Water the plants as needed to keep the soil moist, but avoid over-watering because this leads to rotten hyacinth bulbs. Fertilization of hyacinths is not necessary because the nutrients needed for the plant to grow are stored in the bulb.
Cut the flower stalk from the plant when the flowers die, but allow the leaves to stay on the plant until they turn brown and die. The bulb stores energy that it receives through the photosynthesis of the plant leaves.
Cut the leaves and stalk away when the foliage is completely brown and dead, then dig up the hyacinth bulbs.
Plant the bulbs outdoors in fall, in a garden space that receives full to partial sun. Potted hyacinths are unlikely to bloom again if kept in the pot, but often bloom after one to two years when moved outdoors.
There are two posts on this subject [Dying Floating Plants and another one similar] just down from yours.
They may contain some useful information for you.
Just stay away from the salt recommendations suggested in both of the posts.
Check for spider mites or some other infestation. My hyacinth leaves were turning brown and I found the tell-tale fine webs with the little red critters crawling all over the leaves of my plants. They were on my elephant ears and my lilies as well. May not be this, but check to rule this out.
The hyacinth bulb, sap and leaves contains an oil that contains many toxic elements. When this oil comes in contact with the skin, it can cause a condition known as “hyacinth itch.”
According to SpookSpring.com, hyacinth itch can cause a rash, violent itching, inflammation and blisters on the skin. The blisters put the body at risk for further infection.
If you’re planning on keeping hyacinth plants in your home for any amount of time, then there are some things that you should be aware of. For example, you’ll want to know that hyacinth bulbs are actually poisonous to your pets.
If pets eat your hyacinth bulbs, then they might experience various complications. The most common issues that have been reported are stomach or digestive issues as well as skin irritation.
While hyacinth plants might not be extremely dangerous to pets, they can be problematic if you have dogs or cats that like to eat plants. It would also be a shame to go to all that effort to raise a hyacinth plant only to have it get eaten by a pet that will get sick from it.
It’s going to be wise to keep your hyacinth plants out of the reach of your pets so that they cannot eat them. You’ll also want to keep them away from children because they can cause skin irritation when you handle them.
The skin irritation on humans is often very mild, but it’s still likely going to be better to wear gloves when handling the plant. This is especially true if you’re going to be handling the plant for longer than a minute or so at a time.
If you do handle a hyacinth plant with your bare hands, then you should try to remember to wash your hands thoroughly after you’re done. The toxicity of the plant isn’t entirely a bad thing, though.
Those who choose to plant hyacinths outside will notice that various pests will stay away from the plant due to its nature. This is a good thing for the survival of the hyacinth most certainly, and it keeps all of your hard work raising it from going to waste.
You know all of the pertinent details about hyacinth blooms now, and you should be able to take care of these plants well. So long as you are prepared to do what you need to do for these plants, they’re going to look great in your home.
Don’t hesitate to give them as gifts either so long as you let the person you’re gifting them to know about the toxicity issues. Overall, hyacinth plants have earned their reputation as gorgeous houseplants that can be enjoyed by anyone.