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ALL ABOUT MUSCARI

Spring gardens always look better when they include muscari. These cobalt blue flowers complement every color in the rainbow and at just 6 to 8” tall, it’s easy to add them to almost any garden or landscaped area.

Muscari are better known as grape hyacinths, which perfectly describes their flowers: tight clusters of fat little bells with a grape juice fragrance. Muscari bloom in mid-spring, at the same time as tulips. Deer and rodents rarely bother them, and the bulbs multiply readily, returning to bloom again year after year.

 

START WITH A BETTER BULB

When you compare two muscari bulbs side by side, it’s easy to see the difference in quality. The bigger the bulb, the more food that's stored inside. A larger bulb will give you a stronger plant with more flowers. Longfield Gardens supplies plump, 8/9 cm muscari bulbs to ensure you enjoy the biggest, brightest blooms.

PLAN FOR SUCCESS

Sun or Shade: Plant muscari in full sun or partial shade.

Hardiness Zone: Muscari are winter hardy in zones 4-9. Reference the USDA hardiness map here.

Soil Conditions: Bulbs should be planted in good soil that is well-drained and never soggy. Peat moss or compost may be added at planting time to help improve drainage.

When shopping for muscari, you can choose from a number of different flower styles and colors. Planting several different types lets you stretch the muscari season and create an interesting mix of colors and textures. The most widely planted species is muscari armeniacum. Others to consider include muscari latifolium, which stands 9” tall and has blue-black flowers with a lavender-blue topknot, and muscari Ocean Magic, which is 6-7” tall, with florets that go from deep blueon the bottom to almost white on top. Shop for these and other types of muscari HERE.

WHERE TO PLANT MUSCARI

Perennial Gardens: Muscari bloom when summer perennials are still just waking up. Their compact height makes them ideal for planting at the front of beds and borders. They pair beautifully with tulips and other spring flowers. Muscari also grow well in rock gardens.

Naturalized Areas: These carefree bulbs can be planted by the thousands to create great swaths of color beside ponds and streams, beneath trees and shrubs, and in woodlands and grassy areas. They are ideal companions for daffodils and tulips.

Pots and Planters: Muscari grow well in pots and planters, either planted on their own or mixed with other spring bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths. After flowering, the bulbs may be transplanted into your yard or garden.

HOW TO PLANT MUSCARI

When to Plant: Muscari bulbs should be planted in mid to late fall, any time after the first frost and before the ground freezes. For best results, plant your bulbs within a month after you receive them.

Depth and Spacing: Plant muscari bulbs 3 to 4” deep and 2 to 3” apart with the pointed end up. You may plant the bulbs individually, but they look more natural planted in groups of 6 or more. To plant multiple bulbs at once, just dig out a small area, plant the bulbs and replace the soil. Fall and winter rains usually provide adequate moisture for bulbs. Water only if the weather is very dry.

Planting Tips: Muscari are inexpensive bulbs, so it’s easy to plant them in large numbers. Simply dig out an area, scatter the bulbs, and replace the soil.

WHAT TO EXPECT

These are cold hardy bulbs and they will grow almost anywhere. Once planted, muscari will usually multiply and return to bloom again. To encourage the bulbs to perennialize, plant them in fertile, well-drained soil and full sun.

If the bulbs become crowded over time, they can be dug up, divided and replanted. The best time to do this is right after they finish blooming.

Muscari look pretty in a vase and will last for a week or more. Combine them with primroses, violas and other small spring flowers.

The bulbs are also good for forcing. Plant bulbs in pots in late fall. Water well and then store in a cool, dark place at about 40°F for at least 15 weeks. Learn more about forcing bulbs HERE

CARING FOR MUSCARI AFTER THEY BLOOM

Like other spring bulbs, muscari use their foliage to produce energy for next year’s flowers. After the flowers have passed their prime, let the foliage to continue growing until it yellows. In most cases, the foliage will just fade away. If not, once the foliage has yellowed, it can be removed with a gentle tug.

Unlike other spring-blooming bulbs, muscari sometimes produce foliage in the fall as well as in the spring. A flush of fall foliage gives the bulbs a second chance to gather more energy for next year’s flowers. Just let the foliage grow until it is killed by frost. New foliage will appear the next spring.