Hyacinth, an important temperate ornamental bulbous crop, flowers in the spring season and is known for its beauty and fragrance. Hyacinth is a common name of around 30 perennial flowering plants. It belongs to the family Liliaceae. The common Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis L.) is the most important from a commercial point of view. The common garden Hyacinth, Hyacinth orientalis, originated in Anatolia and was brought to Europe and other continents in the16th century or later. The Hyacinth bulb produces a dense, compact spike of flowers, 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) tall. Hyacinths are highly fragrant, bell-shaped flowers with reflexed petals.
Single Hyacinths: single whorls are the characteristics of this group.
Double Hyacinths: It is characterised by Fluffy whorls of colourful flowers arranged on 10-12 inch stems. Hollyhock is an outstanding variety of this group.
Multiflora Hyacinths: Each bulb produces a number of flower stalks with loose arrangements of flowers.
Well drained soil, rich in organic manure and neutral in pH is prerequisite for hyacinth. Wet soils should never be opted for cultivation of hyacinth. Farmers use humus, turf and ground sheet, compost, peat and sand to form a friable well drained and airy light soil. PH of soil should not be lower than 6.5. Acidic soils or slightly acid soils are not suitable.
Immediately after bulb planting watering is done, watering is advised in winter only if the dry spell is prolonged. Care is to be taken to allow the soil to dry out between watering as over watering may lead to rotting of bulbs. During spring when growth appears, above ground irrigation should be given following the same principle of allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
For better yield and good quality of bulb and flower production the bulbs need to be treated with different antifungal agents and bio- fertilizers before planting them in the soil.
Antifungal agents: Carbendazim 50% WP is an effective chemical fungicide which is used to treat bulbs to avoid fungal contamination of bulbs and rotting. The chemical is dusted on the bulbs before plantation. 1kg of fungicide is dusted on 20kg of bulbs. Also the bio-antifungal agent like Trichoderma formulation can also be used to treat bulbs before their plantation.
Biofertilizer Treatment: Various biofertilizers are prescribed for use in bulb industries to enhance quality production. But the treatments of nutrient solubilising bacteria (ZnSB, PSB, KSB, Azotobacter) can be much more effective and desirable. The treatment prescribed for the bulbs is as 1litre bio-fertilizer for 10Kg of bulbs and left overnight without disturbance. If using the different combinations of above bio-fertilizers use them in equal proportions as mixture. These bio-fertilizers can also be used for treatment of soils in which bulbs are to be planted. 1kg of biofertilizer can be added to a 10kg carrier (FYM, Vermicompost etc.) and applied to 1 acre of land.
Hyacinth is done 6 to 8 weeks before hard frost sets. Under agro-climatic conditions of Kashmir, planting is carried out from September till November on high altitudes and from November to December in plains planting is performed. Soil to be worked out to a depth of 12 to 15 inches and incorporation of a good quantity of well rotten FYM is important as it helps in better bulb proliferation. The bulb is planted 6 to 8 inches deep with pointed end facing upwards. A spacing of 5 to 6 inches is maintained between bulb to bulb. After planting of bulbs thorough irrigation is to be given.
The lifespan of Hyacinth bulbs is 3 to 4 years so it is important to maintain offset production. Each year we can see the offsets arising from base edges of the bulb which are dug and planted. It takes several years for offsets to become a flowering size bulb.
SPECIALISED PROPAGATION TECHNIQUES IN HYACINTH
This process is carried out by using a very sharp knife or a thin blade. The bulb is cut three times across the base, each cut crossing the other two at the central point of the root plate to divide the base of the bulb into six equal sections. In other words we may say bulbs are scored, the basal plate is cut three times in a pie shaped pattern. It produces fewer but larger bulbs in the first year and the cycle takes only 2 year. The depth of the cut should be just sufficient to kill the main flower bud at the apex of the root plate. Approximately 25 bulblets are produced from scoring.
This method entails the complete removal of the basal or root plate by means of a spoon shaped or curved bladed knife. This process requires extreme care. If the cuts are too deep into scales, excessive drying out and failure to produce bulblets result. If the parts of the root plate are left on the scales, this also prevents bulblet formation.
After scoring, bulbs are kept at 20-250C temperature under dark conditions for 3 months. Around 25 propagules are produced from each mother’s bulb. On growing it for 3 year 70% bulbils achieve 12cm grade or larger sizes. It produces more bulbils but it takes 3 years.
Diseases and their Management:
Rhizoctonia Blight: Leaves are more or less blighted causing rotting of bells on the flower cluster.
Management: Use sterilised soil and clean sand for covering the bulbs.
Leaf scorch (Stagonospora curtsii) This fungus infects leaves, flower stalks, flower parts, or bulb scales. Affected plant parts are often bent or deformed at the point of infection.
Control : Minimizing moisture on the leaves and flower stalks by careful watering. Heavily infected bulbs should be discarded.
Bulb rot (Penicillium and Fusarium) This disease often develops during storage and is frequently associated with mechanical injury or damage from mites. Infection is favored by moist conditions.Control is achieved through careful lifting of bulbs.
Pythium rot (a soil fungus): The rotting of roots results in plants that remain too short and do not flower properly.
Management: Use fresh soil Disinfect previously used contaminated soils before use by steaming or treating with hot water.
Botrytis blight, (Botrytis spp.)
This is one of the most widespread and common diseases of all bulbs. Symptoms are variable and can appear as oval or circular spots which are initially reddish-brown and develop pale centres and purplish margins.
Management: Removal of affected plant parts after the tops are killed in the fall and proper plant density.
Bacterial disease (Erwinia)
Dark green spots appear on leaves and flower stems that start at the base of the bulb and extend upward.
Management: bulb Planting at optimum time.
Bulb fly (Merodon equestris)
Management: Three hours of hot-water treatment at 110º F will be helpful in control. Destroy all infested bulbs after digging.