THE GARDEN: an illustrated weekly journal of gardening in all its branches. 87: 10 (Jan 6, 1923)
THE PROPAGATION OF THE HYACINTH
H.W.C.

OF the vast number of people who grow the Hyacinth annually, how many are there who know anything of its increase or, knowing it, have tried the experiment of growing their own bulbs? I think it is well worth trying if only for the added pleasure a genuinely home-grown flower always gives. Those who grow or handle the Hyacinth for sale almost invariably state in their instructions that, having once flowered, the bulbs are of no further use and no doubt this is true of those grown in water or fibre, but as regards those grown in good compost this, I think, is hardly correct, for if they can be finished off with the same care as the Freesia they will give a good account of themselves in the open ground and will continue to do so for several years. If the grower is of an experimental turn of mind and has the necessary patience, it will be found that the Hyacinth can be increased more quickly than most bulbs. Any bulbs which have been forced and ripened may have the base of the bulb cut clean away and then be laid on a dry shelf. With most bulbs this would be absolutely fatal, but not so with the Hyacinth. The cut will heal quickly and from the base of each scale a varying number of tiny bulbs will be produced according to the amount of nourishment available in the scale on which they feed and grow until nothing is left of the scale but a thin dry skin.

If it is desired to carry the experiment further, the bulblets may be dibbled into pans or boxes of rich open compost and grown on thus for a season, when they will be large enough for a nursery bed in the open. If generously treated they soon reach flowering size. If the first small spikes of bloom are picked off the bulbs gain in strength for the next season. I enclose a photograph of two bulbs shewing the great difference in natural and artificial increase. The one on the left had its base cut away in the early summer and was laid on a greenhouse shelf. It produced thirty-eight young bulbs, the largest being about l/2 in. in diameter; the other bulb shews the natural increase. The Dutch growers are said to propagate by means of cuts made partly through the bulb near the base, which is then planted in the open ground, but apparently not much is known here of their methods.— H. C. W.