Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grape Hyacinth Profile

During the winter months I thought it would be fun to showcase plant profiles of my favorite garden workhorse plants and new plants I'm interested in growing. This week's plant profile is Grape Hyacinth.

Grape Hyacinth (Muscari) are lovely little bulbs that multiply rapidly in your garden, a great investment for a swath of color in spring. Grape Hyacinth are not related to the larger Hyacinth bulbs you see in spring, but in fact are members of the Lily family. Grape Hyacinth are short plants no more than 10 inches tall, making them ideal for planting under and surrounding other plants. You will want to plant a number of these bulbs as they look best in mass plantings. A planting of 25 bulbs in the fall will multiply rapidly by next season. The bulbs are very easy to grow and are early bloomers. The bulbs rise up through grassy areas looking much like grass itself with their grass-like arching leaves, capped by cone-shaped purple blooms that are long blooming in early spring. The bulbs do not like poorly-draining soil, otherwise they are pretty much bullet-proof, even deer do not like them. Grape Hyacinth bulbs come in colors of purple and blue you can find in most garden centers, as well as white and mixed color bulbs you can find through bulb catalogs.

The purple version of Grape Hyacinth looks fantastic planted under yellow Daffodils and are wonderful accents lined up against paths and walkways or planted in mass in fields or in lawns. Allow the leaves to die back naturally since leaves feed the bulb for next year's growth. Grape Hyacinth tolerate cold weather, down to 0 degree temperatures. They grow well in full sun or light shade. You can use them in a container but be aware they are rapid multipliers. A pot of Grape Hyacinths will cheer you as you wait for the rest of the garden to catch up to spring. Plant this bulb and enjoy the mass of color they produce season after season.

Full sun to light shade, zones: 3 to 9

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Armenian_Grape_Hyacinth_Muscari_armeniacum_Flowers_2829px.jpg

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