Planting Muscari & caring for its flowers

Alina
Alina
Alina
Alina

For many years now, I have been growing various vegetables as a hobby in my spare time, which is what ultimately led me to studying horticulture. I find it fascinating to watch as plants grow from seed to fruit and to then finally be able to make use of the literal fruits of my labour.

Favourite fruit: Strawberries and cherries
Favourite vegetable: Potatoes, tomatoes and garlic

Whether planting or caring for grape hyacinths, these enchanting early bloomers are surprisingly low maintenance. Muscari are easy to incorporate into your home garden.

muscari blooming among grass
The grape hyacinth is a low-maintenance early-flowering plant [Photo: Natalia Sidorova/ Shutterstock.com]

When your grape hyacinth (Muscari) is planted in a suitable location, it is a breeze to care for. Depending on the species, it also tends to multiply and spread quite easily. Keep reading to learn how to choose a location, plant and care for grape hyacinths.

Planting Muscari

When planting grape hyacinths, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as timing, location and soil conditions.

The right location for grape hyacinths

Grape hyacinths like a warm, sunny to semi-shady spot. The soil must be loose and well-drained, as prolonged dampness can damage the grape hyacinth bulbs. It is best if the soil has a slightly acidic to alkaline pH. If the garden soil is dense and clayey, mix in a bit of sand to loosen it up. Lime-loving Muscari bulbs feel right at home in sparsely wooded areas, but also in open spaces – some species even thrive in stone gardens.

Planting Muscari bulbs in pots

Most grape hyacinth varieties and species can be grown in pots. Put a drainage layer, such as expanded clay in the bottom of the planter. Use a high-quality, well-draining potting soil, as these contain the necessary nutrients for the grape hyacinths to grow.

muscari growing with spring flowers
Muscari can also be combined with other early bloomers in pots [Photo: Evgenia Tuzinska/ Shutterstock.com]

Planting procedure

Grape hyacinths are best planted in groups. Individually planted Muscari, often look a little lost and are easily crowded out by neighbouring plants. When planting a group of Muscari, space the plants 5 to 20 cm apart, depending on how densely you want them grow. The most efficient and popular way to plant grape hyacinths is via bulbs, but they can also be grown from seed. Bear in mind, though, grape hyacinth seedlings initially need all of their energy to establish themselves, so they do not produce flowers for the first few years.

The ideal time to plant Muscari bulbs is from September to November. The grape hyacinths can then sprout as early as next spring. After finding a location to plant your bulbs, use a digging fork to loosen up the soil deeply. Then, if necessary, add a little compost, fertiliser or sand to improve the soil conditions. Plant the bulbs about 6 to 8 cm deep in the loose substrate. Press down the soil and, if desired, add a thin layer of mulch. Finally, water thoroughly.

Summary: Planting Muscari bulbs

  • Warm, sunny location
  • Well-draining soil
  • Planting time: September – November
  • Loosen and improve the soil deeply
  • Plant the bulbs in the loose soil
  • Plant spacing: 5 – 20 cm
  • Planting depth: 6 – 8 cm
  • Press the soil down and water thoroughly
closely planted muscari bulbs
In pots, grape hyacinth bulbs can be planted closely together [Photo: Mariia Boiko/ Shutterstock.com]

Grape hyacinth care

In suitable locations, caring for grape hyacinths takes very little effort. Read on to learn how to give your early bloomers the best possible support.

Watering

If your grape hyacinths are planted in a pot, it is especially important that they have a regular supply of water. When the top layer of the substrate has dried completely, it is time to water again. If your Muscari are kept outdoors, you may need to water them more often during warm or dry spells.

Fertilising Muscari flowers

For abundant flowering and strong plants, we recommend adding compost in spring or using a slow-release fertiliser for flowers. Our Plantura Flower Food is ideal for this. Grape hyacinths can grow in nutrient-poor soil, but not as vigorously, and visible symptoms, such as yellow leaf blades, appear more frequently when they do not have enough nutrients. With sufficient nitrogen, the plant’s foliage is lush and green. Additionally, bulb plants are often affected by rot during wet winters, but with enough potassium, the plants are better able to protect themselves. The high potassium content in our flower fertiliser is ideal for preparing Muscari for winter.

Flower Food, 1.5kg
Flower Food, 1.5kg
  • Perfect for flowering plants in the garden & on the balcony
  • For healthier plants with beautiful & long-lasting blossoms
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

Dividing and repotting

Muscari in pots appreciate regular dividing and repotting. This creates more space for the individual plants and provides a new supply of nutrients via the fresh substrate. Carry out such maintenance measures in autumn.

Overwintering

Almost all grape hyacinth species are sufficiently hardy in garden beds outdoors and do not need any protection. The Aucher-Eloy grape hyacinth (Muscari aucheri) is an exception. It is not as tolerant of sub-zero temperatures and should be covered with some mulch or fleece in colder winters. Grape hyacinths in pots are generally overwintered in protected winter quarters. If the bulbous plants are placed in a moderately warm and bright spot indoors early in the year, they will sprout earlier, bringing spring indoors.

dug up cluster of muscari
Individual groups of plants can be dug out and transplanted [Photo: Egorov Igor/ Shutterstock.com]

Pruning grape hyacinths

Another possible care measure is pruning your grape hyacinths. This, however, is not a necessary step. Removing withered Muscari inflorescences not only prevents grape hyacinth seeds from spreading, but it also allows the perennial to store the extra energy reserves in its bulb rather than using them for seed formation.

If the leaves are wilted and yellowed, they can be removed primarily for aesthetic purposes. It is important to wait until the leaves have yellowed so that the nutrients and reserves contained in the leaves can be stored in the bulb. The foliage can, however, simply remain on the plants, and die off in place, restoring nutrients to the soil.

Tip: Grape hyacinths are also great as cut flowers in spring bouquets or Easter arrangements. They have a vase life of about a week.

muscari in a flower arrangement
Combining blue and yellow flowers creates a charming contrast [Photo: MaskaRad/ Shutterstock.com]

What to do with Muscari after flowering

Once the grape hyacinth inflorescences have faded, remove the inflorescences and the withered leaves. Furthermore, do not apply any more fertiliser during this time and avoid constant moisture at all costs. Watering Muscari outdoors is no longer necessary and should only be done infrequently indoors.

Subscribe to the Plantura newsletter