How to grow grape hyacinth (Muscari)
All you need to know about growing muscari, or grape hyacinths, in this detailed Grow Guide.
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.
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
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
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.
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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
- 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