(Liliaceae - Lily Family)
- small perennial Spring-blooming bulb
- maturing at about 10" tall by 8" wide when in foliage and flower
- radiating clump growth habit
- full sun to partial shade
- best performance occurs in full sun in moist, rich, well-drained soils when bulbs are planted about 4" apart and 3" deep in September or October
- propagated by separation of bulb offsets, or less frequently by seeds
- Lily Family, with virtually no disease or pest problems, unless improperly sited too deeply or in a wet site, when bulb rot will occur
- abundantly available as dry bulbs in late Summer and throughout the Autumn
- Winter foliage is tolerant of temperatures down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius), below which is suffers some degree of winterburn
- most effective if several bulbs are grouped together into a cluster, or
better yet that many are grouped together into a mass planting or lining a path
- allow foliage to senesce before its removal in early Summer
- dark green, emerging in late August or early September and remaining green throughout most Winters, elongating further in Spring at the time of floral emergence
- blades of leaves are senescing in late May and completely dead by late June, at which time they can be removed
- solid colors of purple, purple-blue, or white
- effective in flower for about two weeks in late April and early May
- the pyramidal inflorescence of many solitary short-pediceled flowers occurs on a scape (peduncle) that rises to 10" high
- the slightly fragrant inflorescences attract many bees
- flattened, circular green fruits mature to brown by late May
- the top of the scapes (with their immature fruits) should ideally be sheared off after floral senescence, for larger inflorescences the following Spring
- ID Summary
- unique foliage is green from late August through late May, then dying in June and entering a period of Summer dormancy before new foliage emerges
- pyramidal inflorescences are composed of many miniature purplish-blue flowers resembling upside-down urns, attracting many bees in early May
- good for beds, borders, raised planters, rock gardens, mass plantings, or naturalized areas, and looks best when planted in groups, drifts, or serpentine wide lines
- the Winter-green foliage can be used to outline both sides of a woodland path, stepper stone walkway, or sidewalk in Winter, and will be visible through shallow snows as a guide for walking
- fine texture
- thick density
- early Spring accent flowering bulb
- mildly fragrant Spring inflorescences, usually of a blue-purple color
- Winter-green foliage
- propagates itself over time, by bulb offsets and seed dispersal
- dried fruiting stalks will persist unless dead-headed
- attracts bees when in flower (this can be an asset, if pollination of other nearby plants is desired)
- zones 4 to 8
- native to Asia Minor
- other early Spring-flowering bulbs, especially the smaller-flowering bulbs (Crocus, Galanthus, Eranthis, Iris reticulata, species Narcissus, species Tulipa, etc.)
- the two common species (Muscari armeniacum & Muscari botryoides) are virtually indistiguishable in appearance, and have cultivars selected upon the basis of floral color, floral texture, and floral size
- Muscari is the Turkish name for the bulb.
- armeniacum translates as "of Armenia".
- the specific epithet for the other species, botryoides , translates as "like a bunch of grapes", which the inflorescences resemble.
- Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) is in the Lily Family, as is Hyacinthus (Hyacinth), the major bulb which is extremely fragrant but in a different genera.
- Grape Hyacinth is a representative of the minor bulbs which self-propagate, slowly spread with time, and maintain floral density and vigor, unlike the major bulbs (such as hybrid Hyacinths) which usually decline with time in bulb number and bloom vigor.
- Muscari armeniacum is known as a Spring-flowering bulb with nearly evergreen linear foliage (which dies back to the ground during mid-Summer).
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