Whether you’re going for a prize-winning formal garden or want to create a natural woodland look, the Muscari or Grape Hyacinth is a plant you can’t ignore. Perfect in pots, it can be dotted around in lawns to create a flower meadow or massed for a striking effect. What should you do with Muscari? It seems that your creativity will be the only limit.
The best news is how easy Muscaris are to grow
Sometimes, we get ambitious with untried plants and face disappointment, but Muscari are among the easiest plants to grow. All they need is well-drained soil which, by the way, should not be too rich. A neutral to slightly acid soil pH is best, but since most garden soils fit that profile, you probably don’t need to dash out and buy a pH tester.
Give it a sunny spot or let it grow in dappled shade; don’t worry about extra feeding; and decide for yourself whether you want to lift your bulbs during dormancy. If you decide to leave them in the ground, the chances of them settling down and sprouting again without any intervention are very good indeed. As for pests and diseases, Muscari are trouble-free on the whole, although soggy soil will cause rot.
What else do you need to know? That’s really all there is to growing Muscari. The RHS even recommends grape hyacinths as a great plant for kids to try out!
Creative ideas with Muscari
Just as baby’s breath is the standby for floral arrangements, Muscari is fabulous for adding a finishing touch to your plantings. In the garden:
- Use grape hyacinths as a neat, short edge of colour for your borders;
- Plant it en masse a la Keukenhof as a canvas against which your tulips will display;
- Plant clumps of Muscari bulbs here and there for a natural look;
- Dot it about in lawns to create a meadow of flowers;
- Create a “river” or “pool” of blooms with nothing but Muscari.
Not sure how to combine Muscari with other plants? No problem. Farmer Gracy's Flower Bulbs Collections were made for you while you find your feet and build confidence. In these “instant garden design packs”, we combine tulips, anemones and pure white Narcissi with Grape Hyacinths for sure-fire success.
- Try it in bulb lasagne plantings where bulbs are layered for a succession of blooms.
- Create a mixed pot with bulbs that flower at the same time.
- Plant it on its own in containers.
To get the best out of your Muscari, you don’t want them too widely dispersed. Always plant a few bulbs together. After all, lonely blooms are easily overlooked. You don’t have to plant them on top of each other; about 10-15cm of space between bulbs will still give you good coverage. Five to seven bulbs are enough to create a striking clump of blooms.
Grape Hyacinth Colours
Most gardeners think of grape hyacinths as being dark blue, and that is certainly the classic shade, but it’s far from being your only option. Muscari can be sky blue, pink, white or even a combination of colours.
Grape Ice, for example, is a truly elite and unusual variety that’s deep blue with ice-white florets at the tip, while Pink Sunrise Muscari is a lovely, soft pink. For purest white, Muscari White Magic is the grape hyacinth to choose. Muscari Mount Hood is a paler blue with white florets at its crown – the list goes on - you really are spoiled for choice.
By the way, the craziest, most un-grape-hyacinth-like hyacinth there is has to be Fantasy Creation. Think of broccoli. Now paint it blue. It’s a bit like that. Chances are, even knowledgeable gardeners won’t know what that fantasy flower is!
More and More Muscari
There’s one thing that Muscari do that you need to know about: when they’re happy, they multiply! They don’t get out of hand as such, but after about four years, you might see a reduction in vigour because the bulbs are competing for space.
When this happens, you know it’s time to lift and divide the clumps. Do so during their summer dormancy and decide what you want to do with the babies. If you haven’t enough room for more Muscari, I’ll be surprised because they make such a great spring ground cover planting. However, if you want to make friends happy with a few bulbs, who can blame you? Spread the love!
How Muscari became a garden must-have
The history of Muscari may not be as dramatic as that of the Tulip, but it nevertheless goes back a long way. The wild ancestors of the Muscari we plant in our gardens today came from the Mediterranean, Southern Europe, Northern Africa and parts of Asia.
Grape Hyacinths make such great companions for Tulips that it’s no wonder the Dutch started collecting, hybridizing and improving them, creating new cultivars that are so pretty on their own that one even wonders if combining them with anything else is necessary. It isn’t, but the results speak for themselves when you do.
With people transporting them all over the world, Muscari have naturalized themselves in several areas including Northern Europe and parts of the United States. Here, people will swear that Grape Hyacinths are their own native wildflowers. Well, who wouldn’t want to claim Muscari for their own?
Farmer Gracy offers you the full spectrum
Farmer Gracy has a mission: bringing top Dutch-grown bulbs to the UK for you. We could stick to basics, but with so many wonderful plant varieties out there, we want to offer you everything from old favourites to exciting and unusual cultivars to astound and amaze.
We’ve applied this philosophy to Muscari too. These once-humble wildflowers are now well-established in our minds as garden standbys, but when you see unusual cultivars and colours, it’s easy to get excited about them all over again.
Whether you choose the classics or lean towards novelties, you’ll find Muscari flower bulbs to suit your preferences right here. Why not take a look?