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The elegant Grape hyacinth (Muscari) is marked by tightly packed urn-shaped flowers that occur in varied sizes and a number of endearing colors. The flowers bloom in early spring, clustered around the rigid stalks much like grapes. Fall is the best time of the year for planting grape hyacinths and they are very easy to grow. Muscari bulbs are highly adaptable, hardy and do not require rich soil to flourish. A full sun or partly shaded site with well-drained soil is ideal for growing grape hyacinths. Grape hyacinth bulbs are excellent spring flowering bulb for naturalizing, lining the walkways and are wonderful companions to spring bulbs like tulips and daffodils. They are also deer resistant. They're also great for bouquets and cut flower arrangements. Choose from varying shades of blue - from sensual pale blue flowers to dreamy turquoise, even a striking blue-black color. That's not all; we also carry rare pink and white grape hyacinths that will stand out in every garden setting! Muscari armeniacum.
How to Plant Grape HyacinthsLike many spring-blooming bulbs, grape hyacinths should be planted in the fall. Planting after the soil has cooled prevents them from sprouting in the late-summer heat, and allows the bulbs to settle in and enjoy the period of cold necessary to jumpstart their blooming. Luckily, planting grape hyacinths is far from a difficult autumnal garden chore. Muscari are very easy to plant, and they are relatively low-care all season long.
Choose an appropriate location for your grape hyacinths. These bulbs prefer sun or dappled shade, and require well-draining soil that isn't too dry. Consider the height of your grape hyacinth variety when choosing a planting location. Most muscari grow only a few inches tall, making them perfect for planting in the foreground of beds or borders. Or, create a gorgeous woodland look by setting your muscari in groups to naturalize. Muscari tend to spread out quickly, so plant them somewhere where you won't mind them spreading out. Create a field of muscari in a low-growing spot in your landscape, or set them under a tree or shrub that allows for sunlight to reach them. Plant your grape hyacinths in groups of ten or more: they flourish and look much fuller in groups.
Once you've chosen your planting location, loosen the soil with a trowel or spade. Mix in some bulb food or general fertilizer as you aerate the soil. Then, set your muscari just an inch or two deep. These small-statured bulbs don't need much cover, and they won't be able to reach the surface if planted too deep. After setting the bulbs, your grape hyacinth planting is complete! Many varieties of muscari will send up shoots before the winter, but this won't damage the plant. Simply leave them alone, and they will send up new leaves--along with their signature flowers--come springtime.
How to Maintain Grape HyacinthsIn addition to their charming appearance, grape hyacinths offer incredibly easy care. In fact, normal soil is sufficient for grape hyacinths to thrive. They don't need to be fertilized, and they only need to be watered during dry springs. Not sure if you need to water your grape hyacinths? A good rule of thumb is that these plants need to get at least one inch of rain or watering each week.
During the growing season, grape hyacinths can be deadheaded once their flowers fade. Removing the dried floral spades allows the plants to redirect energy to their bulbs, and helps them gear up for winter. As you deadhead, watch for any signs of smut fungus, a type of black or green fungus that can attack grape hyacinths in wet or tightly-packed locations. If you find any diseased plants, pluck and dispose of them.
Grape hyacinths spread quickly, multiplying each growing season. In fact, they can become somewhat invasive! If you find that your grape hyacinths are growing in a tight pack, or have spread to areas you wish to keep clear, simply use a spade to dig up some of the small bulbs. You can dispose of them, or re-plant these bulbs in a different location.
Planting Grape Hyacinths in PotsCan't wait for spring to enjoy your muscari? Grape hyacinths are great for forcing indoors. They also work well as outdoor container plants, and their short stature makes them absolute stars in a layered or "lasagna" planter. If you want to plant grape hyacinths in a container, you'll need to do so in fall, to provide the cool period needed for the plants to begin growing in spring. Alternatively, you can "force" grape muscari early by chilling the container and then bringing it indoors.
Plant your muscari in regular potting soil, preferably a variety including some loam or other well-draining material. Allow the pot to rest in a cool location overwinter. Then, place it in a warm and sunny spot. As the plants grow and bloom, provide them a few inches of water each week. Don't stop watering through the summer! Just like ground-planted grape hyacinths, hyacinths in containers can come back year after year with the proper care.