How can I propagate a hyacinth – thinks it’s a bulb or corm. How many pieces should he cut these into and when is the best time. I see plants on sale now in full bloom, should I buy them.
Purchase bulbs that are not in flower – e.g., in the autumn, the usual time they are planted.
Bulbs can be propagated by scooping, where the entire basal plate of a dormant bulb (i.e., where the roots grow) is scooped out by a sterilized scalpel or sharpened teaspoon, making a crater. The outer rim is left intact. This exposes the bases of the leaves that cover the bulb. Dip the bulb in fungicide. Scooped bulbs should be placed (with cut surface facing upwards) on a layer of moist, coarse sand in a dark, warm place. Keep the sand moist and after around 3 months, little bulbs will form on the cut surfaces of the scooped area. In late fall, plant both the main bulb along with its attached bulblets right-side up and cover with 5-7.5 cm (2-3 inches) of soil. Once the mother bulb’s leaves have died in the early summer, lift the new bulbs, which should be around the size of peas (the mother bulb will have died). Plant the bulbs in beds or pots, lifting and replanting every year until they reach full size. It may take 4 or 5 years before the bulbs will flower.
An alternative to scooping is scoring, where 2 cuts are made 1 cm( ¼ inch) into the bulb’s base at right angles to one another. Treat as per “scooping”, above. In the warmth, the cut area will open and little bulbs should form along the cut surfaces.
Another way to propagate hyacinth bulbs is by chipping, which involves using a mature dormant bulb. Remove the outer skin and trim the roots, and take off the growing tip and nose of the bulb. With the basal plate at the top, cut (chip) the bulb into 8-16 similarly sized sections. Ensure that each chip has a portion of the basal plate. Treat with fungicide. Drain the chips for 12 hours, then place them in a clear plastic bag that contains fine vermiculite (10 parts) and water (1 part). Blow the bag up (as you would a balloon) and seal it. Keep it in the dark at 20 degrees C (68 degrees F) for around 3 months and check from time to time to remove rotting chips. The layers (scales) of each chip should separate out, with bulblets forming between the layers, right above the basal plate. Pot up each chip individually, with the basal plate facing down and cover the little bulbs by 1 cm (1/2 inch) of compost. The scales should remain exposed and will slowly rot as the bulblets grow.
Gardening know how. Planting and care of hyacinths. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/hyacinth/planting-and-care-of-hyacinths.htm
RHS. Hyacinths. https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=614
RHS. Bulbs: propagation. https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/Profile?pid=101
SF Gate. How to Propagate Hyacinths by Cutting Off the Basal Plate https://homeguides.sfgate.com/propagate-hyacinths-cutting-off-basal-plate-26151.html
SF Gate. How to propagate a hyacinth. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/propagate-hyacinth-65910.html
NDSU. Propagating tunicate bulbs. 2003 Spring. https://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/chiwonlee/plsc368/student/papers03/rmiller/tunicatebulbpropagation.htm
Oak leaf gardening. Scaling, chipping, scooping and scoring bulbs. https://www.oakleafgardening.com/how-to/get-new-plants-from-your-existing-ones/scaling-chipping-scooping-and-scoring-bulbs/
Telegraph. Taking the bulb by the horns. 12 Jan 2002 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/3296517/Taking-the-bulb-by-the-horns.html