cut flower of the month
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Hyacinth, Dutch hyacinth, Common hyacinth, Garden hyacinth
comprise fragrant, waxy bell-shaped florets in large spikes on
the upper 4 to 6 inches of thick, fleshy and leafless stems (scapes),
which range from 8 to 12 inches in length. Cut hyacinths
typically bear 60 to 70 florets.
Hyacinths are available in
a range of pinks (pale pink to hot pink), blues (light blue to
dark blue and blue-violet), and violets (lavender to dark
purple) as well as red, salmon/peach/apricot/coral, yellow and
Cut hyacinths typically
last from three to seven days at the consumer level, depending
on their care, their maturity at the time of sale and the
environmental conditions in which they are displayed. These
flowers should be sold within two days of arrival in your
Cut hyacinths are available from November through May from both
domestic and foreign growers.
immediately upon their arrival. Remove all stem bindings
(usually rubber bands or tape) as well as any loose leaves. Then
thoroughly rinse the stems under tepid (100 F) running water to
remove any sand or silt from the stems.
The latest information regarding cutting hyacinth stems is
that the stems should not be recut. In Holland, for example,
hyacinths are harvested with their bulbs attached; the bulbs are
later removed by a “coring” machine. This means that the lowest
part of a hyacinth stem (basal plate) is the center interior of
the bulb. Research shows that leaving the basal plates intact
improves water uptake and will extend vase life. If you choose
to recut hyacinth stems during processing, remove as little of
the stem as possible—preferably no more than 1/8 inch.
For best results, place hyacinths into a nutrient solution
formulated especially for bulb flowers (e.g., Chrysal Clear
Professional Bulb T-Bag™ or Floralife® Bulb Flower Food). When
these flowers are cut from their bulbs, they experience hormone
imbalances, and bulb-flower foods contain—in addition to the
ingredients in standard flower-food solutions—“replacement”
hormones. They also have a lower concentration of sugar, which
can aggravate leaf yellowing. If using a bulb-flower-specific
solution is not possible, place hyacinths into a standard
flower-food solution. Whichever flower-food solution you use,
prepare it with cold nonfluoridated water.
hyacinths, immediately place them into a floral refrigerator at
35 F to 41 F, and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours
before selling or arranging them. Except for design time, keep
these flowers refrigerated until sold or delivered. At this
stage, some care and handling experts recommend wrapping these
flowers in damp paper or placing them into sleeves to encourage
straight stems. In any case, position them upright in their
Sell cut hyacinths within two days of receipt. Flowers held
for more than two days lose at least a day of vase life for each
day they are held beyond the two days, and prolonged
refrigeration also can cause chilling injury.
Change the flower-food solution every day, and advise customers
to change it every other day.
Cut hyacinths are not
particularly sensitive to ethylene gas; however, take
precautions to keep ethylene levels in your department as low as
Cut hyacinths can be stored dry in a floral refrigerator for up
to three days.
Inform customers that leaving the basal plates intact (not
cutting the stems), changing the vase water at least every other
day, lightly misting the blossoms daily and cooling the blossoms
at night will help to extend their lasting quality and encourage
every floret to open.
Buy cut hyacinths when the
flower spikes are showing some color but before any florets
separate from the cluster and open; however, buds should appear
Make sure flower spikes
and stems are turgid and fairly straight.
Examine bunches for
bruising, browning or yellowing, or rot or mold on blooms, stems
These flowers are generally sold in five-stem bunches.
Some information provided
Botanica, by R.G. Turner
Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network® ,
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William T.
Photo courtesy of Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center