Caring for grape hyacinths — interesting facts and tips about Muscari

The flowers, also known as muscari, delight with a large abundance of dainty individual blossoms. There are around 60 species of the group belonging to the Asparagaceae family (asparagus plants) worldwide. Breeding and selection have resulted in a large number of varieties that fascinate with different flower colors. The care of all varieties is identical. With a fine scent and a long flowering period, the early bloomers are a valuable source of food for bees and other insects. The flower bulbs develop optimally in open areas that are only shaded by leaves in summer. Chop the soil as little as possible, the less maintenance, the easier it will go wild.

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Interesting facts about grape hyacinths

Botanical name: Muscari armeniacum, Muscari latifolium
Other names: grape hyacinth, muscari, pearl hyacinth, farm boy, mountain man, small grape hyacinth
Use: bedding plant, for naturalizing, for balcony boxes and containers, cemetery planting, rock gardens, valuable food source for bees, bumblebees and other insects
Origin: Balkans, Greece, Turkey and the Caucasus
Flower colours: blue, white, pink, pastel colors Planting
time: from the end of August to December Flowering time
: March, April, May (they flower shorter in full sun than in semi-shade)
Special features:The botanical name muscari comes from the Greek «muschos» for musk and refers to the characteristic scent of the grape hyacinth muscari. The onion plants can be propagated primarily by onions. Please work with gloves, as the onions are considered slightly poisonous.

In which location does the grape hyacinth feel most comfortable?

Grape hyacinths are bulbous plants that are extremely easy to care for. They do well all year round in a sunny to partially shaded spot in the garden or on the balcony. A spot with sufficient sun, well-drained soil with humus and even moisture is optimal. The pH should be neutral to slightly acidic. The flowering period is shortened in a sunny location, so sunny and partially shaded is ideal. It is important that the small onions never have standing moisture, because then they can quickly rotcome. Good drainage is particularly important for Muscari in planters and balcony boxes. In spring, the early bloomers with the mostly blue flowers are also suitable for short-term decoration in the house. The durability is comparable to that of a bouquet of flowers. The cooler the bulb plants are in the house, the longer the splendor of the bloom. After flowering, you can plant them out in the garden.

How do I plant my muscari in the garden?

Like all spring flowers, grape hyacinths are planted in late summer. With all flower bulbs that are planted in autumn, it is important that they are planted in good time so that the storage organs can form roots before winter. Specimens planted early are well rooted and get through the winter best. The storage organs are hardy and can remain in the ground during the cold season. Make sure, as with other species, that there is never waterlogging.

Important when planting:

  • Loosen the site well and remove any existing weeds.
  • Dig a planting hole.
  • Put good quality potting soil in the planting hole.
  • Activate and support soil activity with organic flower bulb power. Put this activator in the planting hole before planting or sprinkle it on the surface and work it in.
  • Now the bulbs are planted in the planting hole with the tip upwards. Plant in small groups of at least 7 to 10 specimens in one spot.
  • Planting depth: 5 to 8 cm

Finally, the onion is loosely covered with excavation or plant substrate. Our gardening tip: Driven specimens that you can plant directly in the balcony box, garden or on graves in spring are practical.

How do I properly care for my grape hyacinth after flowering in summer and autumn?

In order not to waste unnecessary energy in seed formation, it is best if you cut off the withered flowers with secateurs immediately after they have faded. It is important that you protect the leaf and leave it on the plant until it has yellowed and dried up. This process is essential for the flower bulb and influences the budding in the next spring. Gently loosen the soil around the bulbs and remove any weeds that may be present. As a mulch, you can apply well- rotted compost around the plants to encourage soil activity. The storage organs can remain in the ground all year round. Sometimes they are also from the end of May to the end of August on onekept in a dry basement in a dark place and planted again in late summer. Dark rooms are important so that there is no hustle and bustle. It must also not be too warm and humid, as this can result in rot. However, hibernation must take place outdoors. Potted specimens are watered sparingly after flowering and placed outdoors in a shady spot.

Fact: Without pruning, seeds can form and individual plants can appear in cracks or joints and in other places the next year.

How do I water and fertilize my muscari properly?

The easy-care plants only very rarely need additional watering. Normally, the rainfall is sufficient for flowering and growth. Therefore, watering the small flower bulbs is only necessary in very dry places. Specimens in the pot are carefully poured and protected from too much rain, especially in winter, because waterlogging damages the plants. Muscari can grow in the same spot for many years without fertilization. A dose of organic flower bulb power in spring is beneficial. This special fertilizer contains mycorrhiza, which serves as a natural, organic fertilizer. Soil activity is promoted _Improved growth and increased flowering. Fertilize by the end of May at the latest so that the nutrients can still be well absorbed. After flowering, the storage organ for summer rest matures and the fertilizer is no longer absorbed.

How to plant muscari in a pot?

Even without a garden, you can plant grape hyacinths and enjoy the beautiful spring bloomers. The vessels must either be filled with onions in the fall or with pre- cultivated plants from the trade in the spring. You can also mix different species in one pot. Colorful combinations are possible with red tulips or yellow daffodils and blue flowers. Or you can plant in the classic green and white and complement the white flowers of the muscari with ivy, boxwood or small conifers.

Tips for planting in containers:

  • Choose vessels with a water drain.
  • Provide a drainage layer at the bottom of the vessel.
  • Fill the vessel with high-quality substrate.
  • Plant the bulbs so close together that they are just touching each other.
  • Fill in the cavities with soil and water carefully.
  • Leave the pots outside, because the cold is necessary for flowering.
  • Make sure that the bulbs do not have too much moisture in winter.

At low temperatures, protect the vessel with fleece or special winter protection material.

What Muscari species are there?

In addition to the common grape hyacinth Muscari armeniacum, there are a large number of species. Below is a selection of variants of the genus Muscari:

Tufted Grape Hyacinth — Muscari comosum

The wild form has a special flower shape. In the upper part are sterile flowers and in the lower part horizontally projecting, vertile flowers.

Broadleaf Grape Hyacinth — Muscari latifolium

In contrast to Muscari armeniacum, this species convinces with two shades of blue. Due to the contrast of pale blue above and black-blue below, this variety has a special charm. As a flowering variety, the species is extremely attractive. Furthermore, the foliage is wider than in Muscari armeniacum. Muscari latifolium is less commonly available.

Vineyard Grape Hyacinth — Muscari neglectum

This representative of the genus of asparagus plants convinces with a dark blue color, sometimes with a narrow white border. A sunny, barren location is ideal where the flowers bloom for weeks in April. Ideal for naturalising.

Tufted grape hyacinth

Broad-leaved grape hyacinth

Vineyard grape hyacinth

What pests and diseases can the grape hyacinth get?

In the optimal location, the flower bulbs are floriferous plants without any problems. If the soil conditions are poor, the following can occur within a short period of time:

Fusarium onion blight

The plants do not sprout well and become ailing, the leaf tips turn yellow and the flower bulbs die. The cause is often a place that is too damp or too high a nitrogen content in the bed. Only preventive measures (improving heavy soil with sand) make sense here, combating it is not possible.

FAQ — Frequently Asked Questions

Why do the leaves of onion flowers turn yellow in early summer?

At the end of the growth phase, the onions withdraw the nutrients contained in the leaves. As a result, they turn yellow and wither. However, the onions store the reserves and are ready for a new shoot next year. It is important that the leaves are only removed when they are completely dry and can be easily pulled out of the ground. It is therefore also important that you only cut off the faded inflorescences and protect the foliage. This principle also applies to tulips and daffodils.

Do the bulbs have to be taken out of the ground in summer?

The storage organs can remain in the ground all year round without any problems. Do not cut off the foliage after flowering, but wait until the foliage has completely dried up. If you want to change the location, the completely dry storage organs can be removed from the bed from June. It is important that you store the tubers in a dark, dry and cold place until they are planted in the new location.

How does propagation take place?

The easiest way to propagate grape hyacinths is by division. To do this, cut off part of the group with a spade and put it back in another place. Propagation by seeds takes place mainly in breeding.

Are there different types of grape hyacinths?

Of the more than 60 species of grape hyacinths worldwide, the following two species are important for the garden:

Muscari latifolium usually forms only one large leaf and therefore looks different in growth than Muscari armeniacum. Both species have the same maintenance requirements and are valuable food sources for bees and other insects.

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