2016/2017 Forcing Results

February 2017

All the hyacinths are finished and it's time to analyse my results. These are roughly in the order of how they performed, starting with my best results descending to total failures. A number of bulbs I don't have a note of where they grew and how they performed as I gave them as gifts so couldn't track them. Also it gets crazy in September/October trying to get almost 200 bulbs started and the spreadsheet did not get updated with every single bulb. 

Peter Nyssen City of Bradford all 10 very good (no failures!), first time using this variety, will definitely use again.

forced City of Bradford hyacinths

forced City of Bradford hyacinths

forced City of Bradford hyacinths

Blue Jacket 6 unprepared from Bloms, very good, some of best blooms this year, if a little late, this bulb bowl was in full bloom end of January.

forced Blue Jacket hyacinths

nice deJager Blue Jacket hyacinth (not one of my best flowers but just keeping all the Blue Jacket together)

forced Blue Jacket hyacinth

Blue Jacket hyacinth on the left, Taylors Delft Blue on the right (leaving 2 Blue Jacket unaccounted for)

Caribbean Dream variable results from 7 unprepared bulbs: 4 failures, 1 ok and 2 of my best blooms of the year, fat, dense and heavy:

forced Caribbean Dream hyacinths

Delft Blue is a perennial favourite. I have more of those than any other variety, all prepared from 5 suppliers

deJager 8 bulbs: 2 ok, 5 good, 1 failure. Very late blooming this year, these are mostly deJager and it's the end of January.

forced Delft Blue hyacinths

Bloms 10 bulbs: 2 ok, 8 good

cranberry on the right and squat vase in the middle (amongst other varieties) and 5 in bulb bowl in next pic below

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

forced Delft Blue hyacinths

Peter Nyssen 7 bulbs: 5 ok, 2 failures

garden centre 12 bulbs (half Delft Blue, half Skyline): 9 very good, 3 ok (Delft Blue in tall vases middle and back)

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

some of the bulbs from the Skyline bin at the garden centre were obviously mixed up, this is definitely not Skyline on the left

forced hyacinths in hyacinth vases

Taylors 2 of 3 ok, see example above next to Blue Jacket in the tureen

Silverstone 10 unprepared from Bloms, extremely variable: 4 failures, 3 very small, 3 very good that are some of my best blooms this year

forced Silverstone hyacinth

forced Silverstone hyacinth

Blue Eyes (unprepared) from Bloms, deJager and Peter Nyssen

4 of the 5 Peter Nyssen bulbs were good, 1 failed

forced Blue Eyes hyacinth

the 3 Bloms Blue Eyes were quite late, this is the second to the last bloom (below) of all varieties this year on Feb 7th, the others were rather sparse

blue eyes hyacinth

of the 3 deJager Blue Eyes 1 was good (below), 1 was ok, 1 failed

forced Blue Eyes hyacinth

Lady Derby, 3 (unprepared) bulbs from deJager in this SylvaC pot, very nice if one a little smaller than the other two

forced Lady Derby hyacinths

Sainsbury's unnamed varieties assorted hyacinth bulbs. Out of 19 bulbs, only 1 failure. A lot were small but that's ok, they worked in a lot of smaller vases and pots; some were quite normal size. 

Sainsburys forced hyacinth bulb

forced Sainsburys hyacinth bulbs

after the one on the left above has opened (one of my best blooms), below and the one on the right has opened more

forced hyacinths

the two on the right are Sainsburys

forced hyacinth bulbs Sainsburys

Bloms Fresco not a good variety for forcing. 3 out of 10 nice (not just nice but spectacular with huge florets), 7 failures. The bulbs and stems tend to rot. Keeping the water level well below the bulb seemed to help.

forced Fresco hyacinth

forced Fresco hyacinth

Peter Nyssen (prepared) Miss Saigon spectacular results last year but ok this year (Bloms couldn't supply it), 2 pinkish flowers in the middle below.

miss saigon and delft blue forced hyacinths

Peter Nyssen Purple Star (unprepared) 2 out of 5 ok - nothing special, 3 failures

Bloms Purple Sensation substitution for unavailable Miss Saigon, all 5 failures.

Plans for next year based on these results:  Delft Blue as always, Miss Saigon, Lady Derby, Sainsburys for smaller bulbs, adding City of Bradford and Blue Jacket. Considering whether to get Silverstone, Caribbean Dream and Fresco as those 3 all had some great blooms but also many failures. Won't bother with Blue Eyes and Purple Star. Will try Blue Star again as I have no idea which flowers those were.

I guess forcing bulbs inevitably has a lot of failures, tantalizing look at what might have been.

failed fresco forced hyacinth


36 bulbs (30 from Taylors, 6 from Marks and Spencer)

6 of 10 muscari bulbs (Taylors) in this trough bloomed (remaining 4 had dried blooms), total failure from all the remaining 26 bulbs in vases

shorter and son squirrel horseshoe trough with forced muscari bulbs

muscari bulbs and vases

I had 2 boxes of these vases and bulbs, total failure even though I followed the directions closely.

Marks and Spencer muscari vases

September 2016

I've tried differently coloured bulbs in previous years, or at least purple and white. This year I couldn't find a white variety that inspired me so I'm just doing shades of purple - and 3 pink Lady Derby.

I like to try different things every forcing season. This year I want to see how well unprepared hyacinth bulbs really work compared with prepared bulbs. I have used unprepared bulbs before but want to analyse the results a bit more scientically. l also want to compare opaque and translucent vases and see if light really helps the roots. Again, I have used both but want to analyse results scientifically.

I have bought the following hyacinth bulbs this year (2016). I'm still compiling this list and confirming all the bulbs are on my spreadsheet and unfortunately already I have missing data, either no hyacinth supplier/variety listed or supplier listed but no variety.

prepared Delft Blue from 4 different suppliers (10+9+10+10) (all on spreadsheet but suppliers slightly mixed up)

5 + 3 (unprepared) Blue Jacket, 8 in total (only 4 plus 1 on spreadsheet)

3 + 5 (prepared) Miss Saigon, 8 in total (only the 5 prepared on the spreadsheet)

5 + 3 + 5 (unprepared) Blue Eyes, 13 in total (3 plus 3 plus 5 on spreadsheet)

10 (unprepared) Fresco (on spreadsheet)

10 (unprepared) Caribbean Dream (only 9 on spreadsheet)

10 (unprepared) Silverstone (on spreadsheet)

3 (unprepared) Blue Star (none noted on spreadsheet)

3 (prepared) Lady Derby (on spreadsheet)

10 (unprepared) City of Bradford (11 on spreadsheet)

5 (unprepared) Purple Star (on spreadsheet)

5 Purple Sensation, I didn't order these but they were substituted for 5 of the Miss Saigon?? (on spreadsheet)