Grape hyacinth flowers

How to grow grape hyacinth (Muscari)

All you need to know about growing muscari, or grape hyacinths, in this detailed Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do not Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does flower in April

Plant does flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Divide
Divide

Do not Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do not Divide in March

Do not Divide in April

Do not Divide in May

Do Divide in June

Do Divide in July

Do Divide in August

Do not Divide in September

Do not Divide in October

Do not Divide in November

Do not Divide in December

  • Plant size

    20cm height

    5cm spread

Grape hyacinths (Muscari) are small, spring bulbs with bright blue flowers that look like a cross between a bunch of grapes and miniature hyacinths. They look good at the front of a border, naturalised in grass or in shady places such as at the edge of a woodland or under deciduous shrubs. They spread easily and you might find them invasive, so if you’d rather keep them contained plant them in containers.

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Grape hyacinths attract a wide range of pollinators, including bees, providing them with an early source of pollen and nectar after hibernation.

How to grow grape hyacinths

Plant grape hyacinth bulbs in moist but well-drained soil or compost in autumn, and water well. Cut back after flowering to prevent seeds developing.


Where to grow grape hyacinths

How to grow muscari - muscari growing with hyacinths and violas in a container
Grape hyacinths growing with hyacinths and violas in a container

For best results grow grape hyacinths in moist but well-drained soil, in sun or shade. They work well when naturalised in a lawn but also in container displays, such as a window box.


How to plant grape hyacinths

How to grow muscari - planting muscari bulbs
Planting grape hyacinth bulbs

Plant grape hyacinth bulbs in autumn, in small clusters. Dig a small trench 10cm deep and toss in a handful of the tiny bulbs. The same principles apply when planting in a pot, but you can get away with planting the bulbs closer together as the display won’t be permanent.


How to care for grape hyacinths

Grape hyacinths don’t need VIP treatment and will spread quite happily once established. Cut back spent flowers to prevent seeds developing. Lifting and dividing established clumps can help control their spread while increasing flowering potential.


How to propagate grape hyacinths

Propagate grape hyacinths by division when plants are dormant in summer. Dig up a congested clump and split apart into smaller clusters and replant. You can also save seed and sow this in spring, but it’s much quicker and effective to propagate by division.


Growing grape hyacinths: problem solving

Grape hyacinths are not affected by any pest and diseases. However they do have a tendency to spread and can be invasive. Grape hyacinths can spread by seed as well as underground, via bulb offsets. Deadhead spent blooms to stop seeds developing, and keep an eye on established clumps – if they look like they’re spreading too well, dig them up and replant the bulbs in a pot. Ensure you have gathered all the bulbs in the soil to avoid having to dig them up again.

Advice on buying grape hyacinths

  • You can buy pots of flowering grape hyacinths in spring but you’ll save money by buying bulbs in autumn
  • Grape hyacinths are widely available at garden centres but you’ll find a greater choice online

Where to buy grape hyacinths


Grape hyacinth varieties to grow

Grape hyacinths growing in a pot
Grape hyacinths growing in a pot
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  • Muscari azureum – a Turkish variety with typical flowers in a soft sky blue. It is slightly less invasive and The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM)
  • Muscari pallens – has soft translucent pale blue and white flowers
  • Muscari armeniacum – a vigorous species variety, growing to 20cm in height, with grass-like leaves and stems bearing spikes of white-tipped, deep violet-blue, egg-shaped flowers in spring
  • Muscari armeniacum ‘Blue Spike’ – has larger, double-flowered heads and looks good naturalised in grass with other spring bulbs or in containers