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What is a Wood Hyacinth?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
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  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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Hyacinthoides hispanica, also called wood hyacinth and the Spanish bluebell, is a bulbous, perennial plant that originated in Spain and Portugal. It reproduces by producing seeds or creating small bulbs. This plant is known to multiply rapidly and easily, and can even thrive in areas where most grasses cannot. Located at the stem’s base, the plants’ four to eight leaves are shiny, smooth, and linear in shape. These leaves are around 0.4 to 1.4 inches (1 to 3.5 cm) wide and 8 to 20 inches (20 to 50 cm) long.

This bulbous plant’s flower spike is typically 8 to 20 inches (20 to 50 cm) high, and its flowers are set in an upright and stiff position. Typically, every unbranched cluster of flowers, known in botany as a raceme, has approximately 4 to 20 flowers fastened to both sides of the plant’s main stem. The flowers of the wood hyacinth point outward, and two lance-shaped leaves are located at the flower stalk’s base. Generally, the stalk’s length is 0.4 to 0.8 inches (1 to 2 cm).

There are many colorful varieties of wood hyacinth flowers, such as the pink violet rosabella, dark blue danube, and the wild variety violet blue excelsior. Each flower has six petals spread outward that are connected at their base to form a wide bell. The petals are around 0.6 to 0.8 inches (1.5 to 2.2 cm) long and have a diameter of 0.6 to 0.9 inches (1.5 to 2.5 cm).

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Wood hyacinths thrive in well-drained soils but are known to also grow in sites with harsh soil conditions. Organic materials such as decomposed manure, compost, or ground bark may be used for improving soil drainage. The plants flourish in varying light conditions, including full sun and spotted and partial shade.

Planting a wood hyacinth typically involves digging a hole 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm) wide and 4 inches (10 cm) deep. Once planted, the bulbs should be watered liberally. Its roots begin to take shape during autumn. The flowers blossom in spring, during which time they can be picked without negatively affecting the plant’s growth.

When the plant has stopped blooming, its foliage should be left in place and it should still be watered regularly, as its leaves will continue to provide nourishment for its bulbs. Leaves begin to die by summer as the plant rests, during which time the foliage can be removed. The bulbs will slip into a dormant state for several months before the the next growth cycle begins.

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