How to plant hyacinth bulbs the right way for bright, healthy and beautiful blooms come spring

Gardening experts share their step-by-step guide to planting hyacinth bulbs

Hyacinth flowers
(Image credit: Getty Images/Ellen van Bodegom)

Seeing hyacinth blooms shoot forth in your flower beds and sensing their heady fragrance signal the start of spring. But in order for them to do that, some work has to be put in the autumn before - which is planting them. But knowing how to plant hyacinth bulbs is just as important as when to plant them.

And turns out, it is quite a precise process that must be followed to a tee. But as long as you follow our gardening experts’ easy step-by-step guide, you’ll be fine and have your own set of colourful hyacinths growing in your borders come springtime.

How to plant hyacinth bulbs

Blooming hyacinth bulbs

(Image credit: Getty Images/Lyubov Kulikova)

Hyacinths are one of the best flowers to plant in September or later on in the autumn months, as long as you do it before the first frost. But there is a science to planting hyacinth bulbs correctly that you need to know and follow in order for your bulb planting to be successful. 

‘Planting hyacinth bulbs is a precise process and performing it correctly will guarantee healthy growth and vibrant hyacinth blooms,’ says Petar Ivanov, Fantastic Gardeners' gardening and plant expert.

This is what you’ll need to have and what to do in order to be successful.

What you’ll need

How-to guide

Hyacinth bulbs

(Image credit: Getty Images/G. Merrill)

Perfect for bulb lasagne, as well as planting on their own, the process of growing hyacinths starts way before you even get to the planting stage. First, you need to choose the right kind of bulbs and the right planting spot.

‘Select large, firm bulbs without any signs of mould or other types of damage,’ Petar advises. ‘Choose ones that feel heavy for their size which will indicate that they have a good moisture content.’

Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench, continues, ‘Choose a sunny spot with fertile soil. Your hyacinths will need around 6 hours of sunlight a day if possible.’

Petar Ivanov portrait
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is a gardening and plant expert who has been working at Fantastic Gardeners for 8 years. As one of the company's top-performing experts, he now manages over 6 teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work. With his green thumb, leadership skills, commitment to sustainability and determination to learn, Petar's wish is to leave a lasting mark in the world of gardening.

Hyacinth flower

(Image credit: Getty Images/Maria Mosolova)

‘Remove any weeds from the planting area, and loosen the soil using a fork or small rake. If you want to add in any compost, now is the perfect time.’

Then finally, it’s time to plant. ‘Dig a hole about 15 to 20cm deep. Similarly, space the bulbs 15 to 20 centimetres apart to provide them with proper air circulation,’ Petar advises. 

Just remember, that when placing the bulb in the hole, the pointed tip is facing upwards. ‘This detail is very important so your hyacinths grow properly. Cover the bulb with soil and firm it gently to remove any air pockets,’ Petar says.

Then finish with a good watering and a layer of organic mulch on top. ‘Water thoroughly after planting your bulbs to settle the soil and promote better root establishment. However, avoid creating waterlogged conditions as hyacinths prefer well-drained soil. And apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, to conserve moisture in the soil and regulate its temperature,’ Petar concludes.

How to plant indoor hyacinth bulbs

Hyacinth flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images/Katrin Ray Shumakov)

If you decide on growing your hyacinths indoors, then there is one extra benefit  - if you plant them in September, then you can have blooming flowers come Christmas. 

‘Indoor hyacinths don’t need to be planted as deeply as those in your borders or outdoor containers,’ explains Fiona Jenkins, gardening expert at, the UK’s leading trades matching site. ‘They will thrive in terracotta pots sitting in just a couple of inches of soil.’

Steve Chilton portrait
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. 


When should hyacinth bulbs be planted?

Autumn time is perfect for planting your hyacinths. 

‘Plant before the ground freezes for the first time,’ Steve advises. ‘Hyacinth bulbs need adequate time to establish their roots before the coldest part of winter, so planting before frost and freezing conditions is ideal as it provides them with the chance to develop strong, steady root systems. This is generally around September and November.’

How many hyacinth bulbs should I plant together?

How many hyacinth bulbs you plant together largely depends on where you’re planting them and how large the space is. 

‘Don’t crowd your hyacinths particularly in pots,’ Fiona recommends. ‘Make sure they are not touching each other and leave enough space between them, ideally 3-6 inches. In a large container you can plant six to eight hyacinth bulbs, but you must leave a minimum of three inches between them. Six inches is better as it gives each plant enough room to grow and produce large blooms.’

‘Alternatively, you can plant hyacinths in individual pots that are at least 3.5 inches in diameter. When planting hyacinths in your garden borders your only restriction will be how much space you have to grow them. As long as you space them six inches apart you can plant as many as you wish.’

One thing is for sure – wherever you decide to plant them, hyacinths will brighten up that space and give it a gorgeous scent at that. 

Content Editor

Sara Hesikova has been a Content Editor at Ideal Home since June 2024, starting at the title as a News Writer in July 2023. Sara brings the Ideal Home’s readership features and news stories from the world of homes and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more, focusing on all things room decor, specialising in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, home offices and dining rooms. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.