All About Muscari Plants

All About Muscari Plants

Table of Contents

Find out everything you need to know about growing and caring for muscari – a petite but glorious spring flower that will add delicate beauty and vibrant color to an awakening garden. Perfect for flower beds, pots, window boxes, and containers, muscari is a great choice for any kind of garden or gardener - read on to find out why!

What is muscari?

Muscari is a small plant, usually growing no more than eight inches in height, with clusters of azure blue flowers that gather tightly together in groups of chubby, bell-shaped blue flowers. It is known as grape hyacinth due to how closely muscari’s vibrant blooms resemble bunches of grapes and hyacinth plants, despite not being from the same genus.

The name “muscari” itself is derived from ancient Greek and means musk, which is thought to refer to muscari’s signature scent (that yes, does smell a little like grape juice!) 

In fact, muscari buds, flowers, and even the bulbs of some species are used in Mediterranean cooking – particularly on the Greek island of Crete and in southern Italy – making muscari the perfect addition to a Greek-inspired gardenor Italian-style backyard.

How to plant muscari

Given muscari’s striking similarity to hyacinths, it’s not surprising that their planting patterns and preferences are equally similar. Muscari is best planted in the fall before the first frost to ensure a boisterous spring blooming. Be sure to choose a spot that enjoys full sun or at least only partial shade for optimum results.

Due to muscari’s diminutive size, plant its bulbs in large groupings for a show-stopping injection of cobalt blue into your garden. Space out muscari bulbs by keeping about two to three inches of distance between each.

Muscari do best when planted in moist but well-draining soil that is nutrient-rich with organic matter. If your soil struggles with drainage, mix in something like sand to help improve it or add compost or manure (about a third of your soil’s overall makeup) for a soil lacking in organic nutrients. As with hyacinths, adding some bone meal into your soil will also help to boost your muscari bulbs root forming.

Finally, plant muscari deep into the soil (a hole about three to four times as deep as your bulb is a good measurement) with the narrow part of the bulb facing upwards. Fill the hole back with soil and water well.

When to plant muscari bulbs

Like many early springtime flowers, muscari bulbs should be planted before the earth gets too cold so make sure to plant them before your first frost in the fall. Once planted, muscari bulbs will happily hibernate until springtime, when you can expect them to flower for roughly three weeks in April or May.

Looking for plants that will keep your flower beds full and exciting while you wait for your spring flowers to bloom? Check out our guide to the cold weather plants here for inspiration!

How long do muscari bloom?

Muscari will often last for three weeks to a month in early springtime, bringing some much-needed and prolonged color and vitality back into your garden.

Related Post: Daffodil Planting Guide

Do grape hyacinth bulbs multiply?

Yes, muscari is a self-propagating force in your garden, dropping its seeds once it has finished flowering. These will take root and form their own muscari plants for the following springtime.

So if you don’t want this plant to spread throughout your garden, controlling its seeds is really important. This is done by cutting back its flowers as soon as they have finished blooming.

When to cut back grape hyacinth?

As the experts atGardening Know How explain, cutting back grape hyacinth needs to be done in a timely manner to ensure that, firstly, the flowers don’t drop too many seeds that might result in a surge of grape hyacinth in your garden the following year and secondly, that your leaves are protected enough to provide your plant with enough energy to rebloom.

If you do not want your muscari to self-propagate, you should cut back grape hyacinth flowers as soon as they have finished blooming to prevent them dropping their seeds. This can be done with a scissors or pruning shears or simply by running the flower stem through your fingers from base to tip. It’s also a good idea to remove these blooms and their seeds to preserve your plant’s energy stores and therefore promote its chances of coming back strong and vibrant the following year.

On this note, if you want your muscari to flower again the following year, be sure to leave the stem and foliage uncut while they are still green. As we covered in our after-care guide for hyacinth plants, muscari leaves provide vital energy and nourishment to the bulbs that will store this and use it to overcome the winter. Wait for your muscari leaves to truly brown and shrivel before cutting these back to the ground too.

Once this is done, muscari is easily maintained until it is ready to burst forth again. You can water them if the weather is dry and adding a layer of mulch can help prevent too many weeds. If you are worried about space and think your plants might be too crowded to bloom properly, you can always dig up your bulbs and store them indoors separately until it’s time to plant them again in the autumn. You can find out how to dig up your bulbs and store them safely here.

Muscari is a wonderful addition to any spring garden, complementing other colorful spring flowers like tulips and daffodils. For other spring flower inspiration, check out our guide to the best spring flowers to ensure you don’t have to wait too long to see life return to your garden again!

Or, if short on planting space, bring the blue-hued magic of muscari into your home by ordering a blue flowered bouquet from amazing flower delivery services like 1800 Flowers, SendFlowers or FromYouFlowers. With such an extensive selection, you won’t be short on a host of show stopping arrangements that will imbue your home with the symbolic power of blue flowers.

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