2011/2012 Forcing Results


Delft Blue hyacinths January
all the Delft Blue that were in bloom beginning of January 2012

I have written to most of the bulb suppliers asking about this year's hyacinths compared to past years. So far only 1 response which suggests that the bulbs are not being kept cold enough and in the dark for long enough.

Cold dark period
As far as temperature I did put some prepared hyacinths in the fridge in 2009. At that time I did not keep such detailed notes but I have gone back and looked at my photos to see if they did indeed flower any better.  I do note that the Jan Bos that were started in the fridge did appear to do better, as did the L'Innocence, but not all bulbs that were started in the fridge produced good flowers and not all of the good flowers that year were started in the fridge. Whether it was the bulbs themselves that year or the time in the fridge that produced some of the better flowers I cannot state for sure. Some of the best flowers were mid-January. The next year (2010) I decided "Last year putting prepared hyacinth bulbs in the fridge did not help them at all even though it was still quite warm in September when I started them. It even delayed the hyacinths flowering so this year I haven't put any hyacinths in the fridge". It's a balancing act between a longer time in the dark for possibly better flowers versus bringing them out as soon as possible for the most flowers at Christmas. For me the chance of Christmas flowers will always win.

I need to try some in the fridge and some just in the cellar this autumn and compare results more scientifically.

Double-stemmed hyacinths
Although I had about 10% double-stemmed hyacinths this year and *thought* I didn't have any before, looking back at photos from 2009/2010 I see I had a few double-stemmed ones then. So more this year but it's not an unknown phenomenon.
Lady Derby hyacinths
In conversation with another supplier I was told this variety was uncommon now with not many growers producing it or some other older varieties which were being discarded in favour of newer varieties. This year I'm going to start looking for them earlier. I had found some in October 2011 but they were very small (the final dregs) and not worth trying.
Hyacinth Variety   average weeks in the dark average weeks until blooming after coming into the light


7 bulbs from 2 different suppliers

15.5 2

Delft Blue

26 bulbs from 9 different suppliers

Delft Blue hyacinth 14 3

Jan Bos

19 bulbs from 6 different suppliers

Jan Bos hyacinth 12 3


20 bulbs from 2 different suppliers

  14 3



I was washing out some crocus vases today and realised a large percentage (but less than 50 percent) of crocus bulbs did not bloom properly whereas most hyacinth bulbs did bloom. I only had 2 hyacinth bulbs rot and not bloom  and although some did not have great flowers, all the rest bloomed. The hyacinths are much more forgiving. The crocus were more prone to drying out and because of the smaller vases and flower trough containers it was difficult (for me) to keep them fully watered so some of the failure may be my fault.


Tulips had an even lower success rate than the crocus but the flowers I did get were great so I definitely want to figure out how to get better results.