Growing a Grape Hyacinth
Commonly known as grape hyacinth, muscari armeniacum is one of the easiest spring flowering bulbs to grow in your home garden. Resembling little clusters of blue and white pearls, it can be planted in flowerbeds, containers or along paths to add color to your landscape along with a mild fragrance.
Growing a grape hyacinth requires little care and maintenance. Keep these points in mind to successfully grow these flowers that resemble an inverted bunch of grapes surrounded by grassy foliage.
Where to Plant
The best time to plant the bulb is in autumn for an early to mid spring bloom. Plant several bulbs in a spot that receives partial to full sun and in well-drained soil. A grape hyacinth is not too picky about where it is planted, as long as extreme conditions are avoided; so do not plant it in very wet or very dry soils.
A grape hyacinth provides value for money, since it is inexpensive and multiplies quickly. So make sure you plant it in an area where you do not mind it spreading. Growing several bulbs together adds more color and aroma.
How to Plant
Dig a large hole 3 to 5 inches deep and remove any weeds or stones. Position the bulbs into the hole in clusters of ten that are spaced a few inches apart, with their pointy edge facing upward. Water the area well, completely soaking it. They like a rich fertile soil so you can add a layer of mulch or compost to your planting area to improve the quality.
The best thing about growing grape hyacinths is that the bulbs hardly require any care after they are planted. You do not need to fertilize your bulbs after planting them. If squirrels or rodents appear to be eating the bulbs cover the planting area with a mesh wire or sprinkle crushed hot pepper around the soil.
Roots and leaves form in the winter, but flowers appear in spring. When the flowers begin to grow they may be blue, purple or white, depending on the type of bulbs you planted, and will have a mild grape like fragrance. You can cut some of them off and place in vases to add a splurge of rich color indoors.
Watering hyacinth lightly with a garden hose every day for a few minutes is sufficient. Grape hyacinths do not need to be pruned, but if you want the plant to look neat you can snip bits of it off.
After Blooming Season
Once blooming has finished do not cut the foliage. Allow it to remain in place to collect enough sunlight and nourishment for next years bloom. Eventually the leaves will turn yellow and die back, allowing the plant to slip into a period of dormancy. Remove the foliage to allow the bulbs to rest before they grow leaves again in fall. Water during dry periods and add manure every autumn.
Grape hyacinths may spread to an extent that overcrowding occurs, affecting their bloom. If this happens dig up the bulbs and separate them by planting them in different parts of your garden.