Looking for an easy way to take your spring flower garden from good to great? Include some muscari! These carefree bulbs -- commonly known as grape hyacinths -- look lovely planted on their own, but they are also great collaborators. Their compact height and soothing blue hues bring out the best in whatever flowers are blooming nearby.
Each year we plant thousands of muscari in our New Jersey trial garden. This isn't to see how well they'll perform, because we already know the answer to that. (Always great!). We plant muscari because they are so good at complementing the shapes and colors of all the other bulbs.
Here are a few things to know about these companionable spring bulbs:
Height: Most varieties are about 5 to 6" tall. Muscari latifolium stands about 8" tall.
Fragrance: Most varieties have a light fragrance that smells like grape juice. The best way to appreciate this fruity fragrance is to cut a bunch of flowers and bring them indoors. The blossoms will last for a week in a vase and look sweet combined with primroses and violas.
Bloom Time: Muscari flower in mid-spring, at the peak of daffodil season and at the same time as triumph and Darwin hybrid tulips.
Longevity: Plant the bulbs in a sunny location with well-drained soil. They will usually bloom for a number of years.
Planting: Planting is easy because muscari bulbs are small and only need to be buried about 4" deep. You can plant them alongside other bulbs, or layer them right on top of bulbs such as tulips and daffodils that are planted slightly deeper.
Containers: Muscari grow as well in containers as they do in the garden. You can plant them in pots on their own, or use the lasagna method, planting tulips or daffodils first and layering the muscari on top.
Price: Muscari are very inexpensive. You can get 50 bulbs for about $15 and it's about half that price if you buy them by the hundreds!