How to Transplant Hyacinth Bulbs

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How to Transplant Hyacinth Bulbs
Image Credit: Tetiana Voievodenko/iStock/GettyImages

Things You'll Need

  • Shears

  • Spading fork

  • Trowel

  • Compost

  • Bulb fertilizer

  • Mulch

Spring flowering hyacinth grows from an underground bulb structure. The bulbs store everything the plant needs to grow and bloom the following year by collecting nutrients during the current year's flowering and foliage period. After three or more years in the bed, hyacinth may cease to bloom or produce fewer flowers than normal. When this occurs, it is time to dig up, divide and transplant the hyacinth bulbs. You may also need to transplant these perennial bulbs to a new bed as your garden design changes over time.


Step 1: Cut the Hyacinth Foliage Back to the Ground

Cut back the foliage to ground level with a pair of shears once it has yellowed and died back on its own. Hyacinth foliage dies back approximately six weeks after flowering, but you may also mark the bulb location with plant markers and transplant the bulbs in fall about six to eight weeks before the first expected frost.


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Step 2: Cultivate the Garden Soil

Loosen the soil around the bulbs with a hand-held spading fork. Work down into the soil 6 inches then slide a trowel under the bulbs and lift them from the ground.

Step 3: Clean and Inspect the Hyacinth Bulbs

Brush the excess soil off the bulbs. Inspect them for signs of damage or disease, such as small, shriveled bulbs, soft rot spots or open wounds. Discard any damaged bulbs.


Step 4: Locate the Hyacinth Offsets

Inspect the bulbs for offsets, which are smaller, new bulbs attached to the main hyacinth bulb.

Step 5: Remove the Offsets

Twist the bulb and offset in opposite directions until they snap apart. Offsets can be transplanted with the existing bulbs, supplying you with even more new hyacinth plants.


Step 6: Apply Compost to the Planting Site

Lay a 2-inch layer of compost over the new bulb bed, which must be located in a full-sun location.

Step 7: Add Fertilizer for Flowering Bulb Plants

Apply a flowering bulb fertilizer at the rate recommended on the label then till both the fertilizer and compost into the top 6 to 8 inches of the soil.


Step 8: Plant the Hyacinth Bulbs

Plant hyacinth bulbs so that the bottom of the bulb sets 6 to 8 inches beneath the soil surface. Sow with the pointed side of the bulb facing upward. Space bulbs 6 inches apart in clusters of three to five bulbs, spacing the clusters 10 inches apart.

Step 9: Water the Transplanted Bulbs Deeply

Water immediately after planting, supplying enough moisture to wet the top 6 to 8 inches of the garden bed.

Step 10: Spread Mulch to Finish Transplanting the Hyacinth Bulbs

Lay a 2-inch layer of mulch over the bed to preserve moisture and to protect the newly planted bulbs over the winter.


Dig the hyacinth bulbs in spring or early summer once the foliage dies and store them in a cool, dry location for two to three months if you can't transplant them right away.


Do not transplant hyacinth bulbs when the foliage is still green. This prevents them from storing nutrients properly and can lead to the death of the bulb.


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