2012/2013 Forcing Results

May 2013

Last year I was so meticulous with my records but this year things were much more haphazard. I also ended up switching some of the bulbs around between vases so lost track of which variety was in which vase.

Delft Blue

In these 2 pics (first week of January) with a number of hyacinths in bloom (I can see I had a number of good flowers), I think the best ones were Delft Blue - a reliable performer every year.

forced hyacinth bulbs

forced hyacinths in bloom in January

If some of my notes are correct the bulb bowl on the left below and the basket on the right are Blue Star and they look great (end of first week of January). I suspect though that they might be Delft Blue. Although I noted which variety went in each hyacinth vase I wasn't so careful with the pots and bowls.

bulb bowls and baskets with hyacinths

I think the The Lady Derby in the middle (above) were variable and small this year. It looks like one didn't bloom.

Purple Sensation

About half of the Purple Sensation bulbs bloomed well, although a bit sparse. They bloomed earlier than other varieties - end of December.

forced Purple Sensation hyacinths

Sky Jacket

The Sky Jacket flowers were smaller than Delft Blue but still very good. They were in full bloom the first week in January.

forced Sky Jacket hyacinths in vases


Half of the Aiolos bulbs bloomed properly and looked good, half did not bloom properly. These were in bloom at the end of the first week of January.

forced Aiolos hyacinths

This white hyacinth flower below I had noted as City of Haarlem but after it bloomed, I saw it definitely wasn't. I bought it from one of those loose bins of bulbs at the garden centre so could easily have been mixed up.

Pink Pearl

The Pink Pearl bloomed early and those that bloomed looked good. Some did not bloom properly.

forced Pink Pearl hyacinths

Peter Stuyvesant

The Peter Stuyvesant bulb in the amber vase on the right never bloomed properly. The one in the teal vase was ok and the one in the pronged vase on the left eventually did bloom properly, the third week in January, shown in the photo below.

forced Peter Stuyvesant

City of Haarlem

City of Haarlem did not bloom well but I bought them very late so maybe they were not the best quality.

city of Haarlem hyacinth

In summary, Delft Blue is still my favourite - a reliable variety every year. Sky Jacket was good and I will buy more for the next forcing year. If one wants early blooms in December, it just has to be pink and purple-pink (as opposed to purple-blue) varieties such as Pink Pearl, Pink Sensation, Woodstock and Ann Mary (going by past years as well as this year) even though pink is not my favourite colour. For white hyacinths I'm not that impressed with Aiolos so will go back to Innocence for next year and/or try another white variety, eg White Pearl which I don't think I've ever grown. Blue Star I need to try again and keep better track as I can't say for sure how they did.

And for next year I will pay attention to size! Some suppliers specify size and I didn't realize so was disappointed by small sizes - but that's what they specified. Some of my vases need massive bulbs (and some need small bulbs) so will make sure I get the right sizes.

few weeks ago

Time to get the results for last year written up. I came across the (mostly) non-hyacinth bulb packages earlier this week and realized most of these I never saw in bloom, very, very disappointing.

- later- I've come back to update this page after reviewing my photos. I must also add I forgot how many bulbs the squirrels ate.

I only had 3 purple crocus bloom, no white crocus and only the yellow-centred pink tulips from that pack.

None of these (below) bloomed except for 2 red tulips.

In looking at these failures I realize I should have planted these varieties outside as well to see if the problem is the brands of bulbs, these varieties or trying to force these rather than plant them outside. Next year I will plant some outside to determine where the problem lies.