Step 1. Buy prepared hyacinth bulbs from a garden centre or nursery. These bulbs have been heat-treated to initiate earlier flowering.
Step 2. Place a layer of damp compost in the bottom of your chosen container.
Step 3. Set the hyacinth bulbs on the compost. They should be close together but not touching each other or the sides of the container.
Step 4. Add more compost around the bulbs. The top of the bulbs should just show at the compost surface.
Step 5. Place the bulbs in a cold dark place such as a shed, garage or cellar, for 8 – 10 weeks. The temperature should be around 7 – 9oC.
Step 6. Cover the pots with black bin liners to ensure no light reaches them.
Step 7. Check the bulbs regularly and if the compost feels dry, water them sparingly.
Step 8. Once shoots are a few inches long, bring the plants indoors and place them in a bright, cool position.
Step 9. Water regularly. The first flowers should emerge within 3 weeks.
The exact timings will vary depending on hyacinth cultivar, for instance, ‘Pink Pearl’ needs 10 weeks of cool conditions followed by 22 days indoors to reach flowering stage, while ‘Anna Marie’ needs 8 weeks cool and 18 days inside to flower.
Water regularly to ensure the compost does not dry out, but avoid over-wetting. Indoor hyacinths can be planted outdoors after flowering and will bloom the following spring.