The color white is often associated with innocence, but don’t let that fool you when it comes to L’Innocence hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis ‘L’Innocence’). This perky spring bulb is far from bashful in the garden. For nearly 150 years, L’Innocence has been reliably hardy and easy to please. Warm white blooms nestle above green strap-shaped leaves and tease the air with an intense fragrance. Not one to be a wallflower among your other spring bulbs, L’Innocence can reach a height of 12 inches.
Common name: L’Innocence hyacinth
Botanical name: Hyacinthus orientalis ‘L’Innocence’
Plant type: Bulb
Zones: 5 to 8a
Height: 10 to 12 inches
• Sun: Full sun
• Soil: Organic, well-drained
• Moisture: Medium
• Mulch: None needed.
• Pruning: None needed.
• Fertilizer: None needed.
• Remove bulb offsets during dormancy.
Pests and diseases
• No major insect or disease problems, but may be prone to bulb rot or gray mold.
• L’Innocence may slow its flowering after the first year, so bulbs may need to be replaced every two years.
• Remove spent flowers immediately to discourage seed production.
• H. orientalis ‘L’Innocence’ is excellent in borders, beds, containers, rock gardens, and along walkways.
• L’Innocence is very easy to force. Store dry bulbs in a paper bag in your refrigerator for 8 to 10 weeks. Then put them on water in indirect sunlight. As they grow roots and leaves, allow them more light, but be sure to avoid direct sun.
• All parts of the plant may cause stomach upset if ingested, and contact with bulbs may aggregate skin allergies.
All in the family
• Hyacinths were first introduced to Europe in the mid 1500s. Two hundred years later, Dutch bulb merchants were offering 2,000 different varieties.
• Most hyacinths are native to the Mediterranean area, as well as South Africa, South America, and Central Asia.
Where to buy
• Old House Gardens, Ann Arbor, MI, 734-995-1486, www.oldhousegardens.com
(Text by Elyse Lucas, photo courtesy of Old House Gardens)