I’m always looking for blue flowering plants to add to my garden. Blue is an elusive flower color, so Wood Hyacinths (Hyacinthoides hispanica) are one of my favorite spring flowering bulbs to add sweeps of blue to my woodland garden. They’re also called Spanish bluebells as they’re native to Portugal, Spain, and northwestern Africa.
Similar to daffodils, wood hyacinths are planted in the fall. Plant them 3 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart in moist, well-drained, organically rich soil. In our hot Southern climate, wood hyacinths are best planted where they get morning sun and shade in the afternoon, making them a perfect choice for woodland areas. Give them room to spread, as they will be naturalized by seeds and bulblets.
Blooming in April to mid-May, the blue, pink, or white bell-shaped flowers are 12 to 18 inches tall. The blue flowering wood hyacinths are definitely my favorite. Bees and other pollinating insects are frequent visitors. The bright green, glossy foliage is 1 to 1½ inches wide and contrasts well with the flowers.
Wood hyacinths are hardy in USDA planting zones 3 to 8. They’re deer- and rabbit-resistant. As they are in the Liliaceae family, they do have toxic characteristics. The most common is skin irritation, so wear gloves when planting the bulbs if you have sensitive skin. This is true of any type of hyacinth bulb. Bulbs or plant parts should never be eaten as they are highly poisonous.
My first bulbs were given to me by Allie Mae Cromer, whom I fondly called Mama Cromer. Our friendship and exchanging plants lasted decades until her passing at the age of 102. When my wood hyacinths bloom every spring, I smile and think of her. Isn’t that what a garden should be? Shared plants help keep the memories of treasured friendships alive.