Learn all about spring-blooming Grape Hyacinths, also known as Muscari, in this gardener’s guide with a plant profile.
Season after season, clusters of Grape Hyacinth (Muscari) grace our spring gardens with their presence.
With their unassuming stature compared to that of their taller spring-flowering friends, Muscari makes wonderful companion plants due to their vivid pops of color.
Plus, they like to multiply. A lot.
If you enjoy colorful spring landscapes and long-lasting blooms, these small bulbs should definitely be added to your garden beds and borders.
In our grape hyacinth plant profile below, you’ll learn all about these beautiful flowers as well as basic plant care and recommendations of where to buy your bulbs.
Read our grape hyacinth plant post below to learn:
- How to grow and care for these small spring bulbs in your yard
- Grape hyacinth plant profile table and free printable guide
- Where to buy grape hyacinth bulbs
- History, fun facts and so much more!
If you’re excited and want to pre-order your fall bulbs now:
In a hurry? Pin it for later!!
Grape Hyacinth: Why We’re Featuring This Plant
First, grape hyacinth adds a burst of color to complement your other spring-flowering bulbs.
They can be featured in spring cottage gardens, planted in containers, or in garden beds underneath trees or shrubs.
You can increase your curb appeal immediately by planting large ribbons of grape hyacinth to look like a “river” of color. Or, you can enhance your landscape with borders of grape hyacinth parallel to your lawn.
Due to this versatility of planting options, landscaping with Grape Hyacinth can be fun and creative. Really, the sky is the limit.
Not bad for such a small bulb that has been deemed a “minor” bulb due to its size.
In addition, grape hyacinth flowers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors including purple, lavender, blue, white, and pink.
Plus, these flowers are very low maintenance. They really only need maintenance after they have flowered for the season.
Check out our Grape Hyacinth table below for a full breakdown of all the facts and features of this beautiful, spring-blooming plant.
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Included in the plant profile: General plant info, maintenance tips, companion plants, and a planning guide!
Grape Hyacinth Flowers: History and Varieties
Grape Hyacinth used to be in the Liliaceae family but have since been reclassified into the Asparagaceae. This new family group, also known as the Asparagus family, includes herbaceous and woody flowering plants including many garden favorites and wildflowers.
With over 2000 species of flowering plants, this family is very diverse. Many members of this family are valued for ornamental plants, indoor plants, dry bulbs, and their various edible uses.
Other members of the Asparagaceae family include asparagus, bluebells, spider plant, dracaena, and hostas.
Grape Hyacinth History
Muscari Grape hyacinth originated in Eurasia, including the Mediterranean region and southwestern Asia.
Cultivated for centuries, the name of the genus, Muscari, comes from the Greek word for “musk”, muschos.
Most likely, the name was first coined by an early 16th Century French horticulturist named Carolus Clusius for its various fragrances. A common feature in some grape hyacinths varieties.
Eventually, Carl Linnaeaus used the term, muscari, to name a specific species.
As stated previously, Muscari was formerly a part of the Hyacinthaceae family but now has been reclassified in the Asparagaceae family.
One common misconception is that grape hyacinth is closely related to actual hyacinths, but this is far from the truth.
While they are distant cousins and resemble each other, there are many important differences. For example, grape hyacinth (muscari) is edible while hyacinths are definitely not.
Furthermore, hyacinths belong to their own family: Hyacinthaceae; grape hyacinth belongs to the Asparagaceae family. However, both species used to belong to the Liliaceae family at one point.
Today, grape hyacinth flowers continue to grace early spring-blooming gardens worldwide with their pops of color.
Does Grape Hyacinth Spread?
Grape hyacinth bulbs are planted in the fall with the intent of adding color and brightening up early spring-blooming gardens.
When planted in good, well-draining soil, grape hyacinth will most definitely spread.
They self-sow and spread under favorable conditions and clumps need to be divided in the fall before overcrowding happens.
They can multiply and spread so much that some varieties are often considered invasive weeds!
If you want to tame their rapid spreading, you could consider planting your bulbs in a container to stop their spreading.
Luckily, grape hyacinth bulbs are deer and rodent-resistant so you won’t have to worry about your bulbs getting dug up by critters.
|Common/Trade Name||Grape Hyacinth|
|Botanical/Scientific Name||M. armeniacum; M. auheri; M. azureum; M. botryoides; M. comosum; M. latifolium; M. macrocarpum; M. neglectum|
|Cultivars||'Blue Spike', 'Early Giant', 'Cantab', 'Monstrosum', 'Gold Fragrance'|
|Zones||USDA - hardy to zones to ; Sunset - mostly grows in zones A1 to A3; 1 to 24. M. macrocarpum Zones 5 to 9 and 14 to 24.|
|General Information||In the Asparagaceae Family. Considered a "perennial bulb." Plant in the early fall.|
|Native Environment||Native to the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia.|
|Plant Type||Perennial Bulb.|
|Water Needs||Needs regular watering when it is growing and in bloom. No watering needed afterwards through the summer or fall.|
|Mature Height/Width||Species range in height from 8-inches to 1.5 feet high. Spreading underground and can get dense, so every few years you will need to divide and transplant some bulbs to other parts of your yard or you can give them away as garden gifts.|
|Bloom Time||Early to mid-spring.|
|Flower Colors||Flowers come in purple, white, faded blues and purples, brownish-purple, white, yellow, and violet-blue to reddish-purple.|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun to light shade.|
|Growth Habit||Low growing clumpy, grass-like form with fleshy long leaves.|
|Soil Needs||Well-draining soil.|
|Fertilize||Maybe once right after they emerge from the ground. Compost and natural fertilizers work good, especially when you are spreading it around the rest of the garden in early spring or even late fall.|
|Plant Spacing||Plant bulbs 3-inches apart and 2-inches deep in the Fall.|
|Suggested Companion Plants||Well-suited amongst Tulips and Daffodils, under trees with dappled full sun, around most evergreen shrubs like Rhododendrons, Cotoneaster, Azalea, Boxwood, and Laurel.|
|Maintenance Level||Low to minimal maintenance. Only after planting will there be any need for some maintenance. When done flowering, the leaves and stems will wither to the ground where they will then need removal. Maybe some digging and spreading of bulbs in later years as they fill in and outgrow an area in your garden. These bulbs self-sow really easily under good garden conditions.|
|Pest Susceptibility||Generally safe from most pests. Usually considered rodent and deer-resistant, but could be dislodged from the soil by other digging rodents.|
|Poisonous to Pets?||According to the ASPCA, Grape Hyacinth flowers are non-toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.|
|Edible for Humans?||The flowers, roots, leaves, and stems are all edible. Most often the flowers are used for cooking or in drinks.|
|Fun (or historical) Facts||- Fragrant flowers.|
- In Greek, Muscari means "musk-smelling." Makes sense.
- Grape Hyacinths are not the same as regular Hyancinths. They are in different family groups and have different characteristics.
- They are rodent and deer-resistant.
- Muscari can be used as a ground cover and will spread rapidly under favorable conditions.
- Can be considered invasive due to their rapid spreading.
Free Grape Hyacinth Plant Profile Sheet
How To Plant Muscari
First of all, bulbs should be planted in the fall before the threat of the first frost. The month may vary depending on where you live.
Next, when you select your Muscari bulbs, consider their flowering times, their suitability for borders, or containers.
Finally, select your bulbs carefully and only plant healthy bulbs. Inspect bulbs for moldy areas or other signs of damage before planting them in the ground.
Muscari Planting Steps:
- Plant bulbs at least 3″ apart
- Plant at a depth of at least 2-3″
- Place the bulbs with the pointy end facing up
- For the soil, make sure you place them in well-drained soil
- Make sure they will have good sun exposure as they prefer full sun
- Water them thoroughly after planting
Also, you can cover the bulb area with 2-3 inches of mulch to keep it protected, healthy, and warm during the off-season.
Check out the videos below if you need more help!
Grape Hyacinth Planting Videos
Now it’s time to pick out your own Grape Hyacinth bulbs to plant next fall.
The best part is there are so many beautiful colors, shapes, and sizes available.
These Grape Hyacinth bulbs come in various shades of blue, lavender, and white. You can even choose a bulb mix that comes with daffodils and grape hyacinth, perfect for your spring-blooming garden.
The gorgeous selection of bulbs come from Eden Brothers which we highly recommend. All their fall bulbs are on pre-sale now and will ship in fall 2019.
Or, if you need to shop for other garden plants for this spring, click the link below.
Grape Hyacinth Plant Conclusion
Muscari flowers are beautiful, underrated spring-bloomers that signal the start of the spring season.
One of the first bulbs to bloom, they are low maintenance, come in a variety of colors, and will multiply to fill in.
Now it is time to hear from you!
How do you plan to landscape your beautiful spring-blooming muscari plants? Where will you plant them?
Leave a quick comment below and let us know!
Well, that’s all for now.
Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed our tulip plant profile.
Want to learn about other plants in your garden? Check out some of our previous plant profiles:
- Tulips: A Gardener’s Guide and Plant Profile
- Primroses: A Gardener’s Guide and Plant Profile
- The Gardener’s Guide to Dianthus
- Roses: A Gardener’s Guide and Plant Profile
- Daffodils: A Gardener’s Guide and Plant Profile
See you in the garden!
~ Sean and Allison
Muscari Grape Hyacinth References:
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Learn all about spring-blooming Grape Hyacinths, or Muscari, in this gardener’s guide with a plant profile.