How to Grow Muscari
Muscari, also known as Grape Hyacinth, is a popular mid-spring flowering plant grown from bulbs.
Expect grape-like, fragrant flowers in purple, blue and several other colours such as cream, white, pink and red.
- Grown from bulbs, planted shallow in pots or deeper in beds.
- Will likely naturalise, multiply and rebloom year on year.
- Ideal at the front of borders, edges and in pots.
- Delightfully fragrant.
- Bee and pollinator-friendly.
- Like most spring bulbs, they are easy to care for and require no special treatment if located in a suitable spot.
Height: Up to 25cm (10in)
Spread: Up to 10cm (4in)
Borders, edges, containers, rock gardens
Full sun or partial shade
Hardy perennial US zone 4-9 and all parts of the UK
How Do Muscari Plants Arrive?
While Muscari can be purchased as established pot plants, buying the bulbs and growing them yourself is cheaper.
Where is the best place to plant Muscari?
Crocus plants thrive in full sun but will perform well in partial shade.
They can be grown in pots and containers, at the front of flowerbeds and borders or in rockeries.
How hardy are Muscari? Will they come back every year?
Muscari bulbs are hardy to US zones 4-9 and can be grown in all parts of the UK.
Like many spring bulbs, Muscari will thrive when subjected to a cold winter.
In the UK, they will naturalise, spread and rebloom year on year.
Does Muscari require full or partial sunlight?
Muscari can be grown in full or partial sunlight.
What are suitable soil conditions for Muscari?
As with most bulbs, free-draining soil is best to avoid bulb rot and diseases associated with wet, boggy ground conditions.
Try this recommended compost mixture for bulbs such as Muscari grown in pots and containers.
If your soil is compacted and boggy, consider adding some grit, sand or even organic matter to loosen it up and improve drainage.
How and when should Muscari bulbs be planted?
Muscari bulbs should be planted from mid-autumn up until the first harsh frost.
Plant 8-10cm (3in to 4in) deep and space around 5-8cm (2-3in) apart.
For a more natural look, grow in clusters of 6+ bulbs but for a formal appearance, dig a trench at the front of the border or flowerbed and grow in a neat line.
Are there any pests and diseases?
Muscari is very resistant to bugs, pests and diseases.
Squirrels do not dig up Muscari bulbs either.
When do Muscari flower and how long for?
Muscari plants bloom from early to mid-spring.
The exact time will depend on the location within the UK and environmental conditions, but late March, April and into May are months where Muscari plants can usually be seen.
Are there any water and fertiliser requirements?
Muscari dislikes overly dry ground conditions so may require some additional watering during drought.
There is no need to fertilise Muscari unless your soil is very poor.
Is Muscari toxic or harmful?
Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) is nontoxic for pets and for most people no skin irritation will occur. Muscari is often sold as a cut flower.
Read more: Is Muscari toxic?
Caring For Muscari After Flowering
Muscari is a tough, hardy perennial but as with most bulbs, follow these tips, so it comes back year on year:
- After it’s finished blooming, trim back the flowering stem just under the lowest bloom, so energy isn’t wasted and is sent to the bulb instead.
- Don’t tie the foliage or cut it back until it’s discoloured and withered.
- There is no need to lift the bulbs unless you want to divide them to create new plants or to control the spread. Lift them in the summer when they’re dormant.
- Don’t be concerned if Muscari grows in Autumn, it’s normal for this plant to shoot up blades well before winter and spring.
Muscari Companion Plants
These six spring-flowering plants go well with Muscari:
Muscari can be paired with or replaced by hyacinths.
While muscari are often referred to as a “grape hyacinth” this is actually just a common name and hyacinths are completely different plants.
If you like muscari there’s a good chance you’ll like hyacinths as they grow to a similar height, have similar foliage and also bloom in the spring.
Daniel’s Muscari Tips
Don’t forget that Musacri bulbs can be grown in layers with larger bulbs of other species planted underneath them.
This technique is often used in containers where horizontal space is limited and ensure the container produces plants throughout the growing season without the gardener needing to remove the bulbs or dig in new plants.
Discover more about bulb layering on Sarah Raven’s site.
The best companion plants for Muscari are listed above but tulips and daffodils are popular pairings. Try placing Muscari directly in front of a row of daffodils or tulips.
As standalone plants, grow them in pots or in borders/beds as clusters of 6+ bulbs.
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More From Daniel Woodley:
This Muscari quick guide was created by Daniel Woodley here at DIY Gardening and was last updated in January 2022.
Daniel is a keen amateur gardener who also manages a large residential landscape in addition to his own mid-size garden.
He also enjoys growing vegetables and fruits as well as his herbaceous border and container garden.
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