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Muscari

Muscari_inflorescence

Muscari botryoides, commonly known as Grape hyacinths are a genus of plants native to Eurasia that produce spikes of blue flowers resembling bunches of grapes. There are about 40 species. Grape hyacinth, belong to the genus Muscari of the family Liliaceae (lily family). low plants with dense spikelike clusters of small, nodding flowers that are usually deep blue. These are especially popular as rock-garden plants.

Muscari botryoides is the commonest and most cold-hardy of the Muscari species in the flora. Typically cultivated but also escaped to fields, pastures, old homesites, roadsides, railroads. The plant is self-fertile. Muscaris are native to Europe. Muscaris are very popular plants in cultivation because they are easy to grow and quite striking. The small blue inflated flowers are actually sterile and fertile flowers in the inflorescence. The sterile flowers are smaller at the apex of the inflorescence. The common grape hyacinth is a Perennial plant.

Kingdom
Plantae
Division
Magnoliophyta
Class
Liliopsida
Order
Asparagales
Family
Hyacinthaceae
Genus
Muscari

Common Varieties of Muscari

  • Muscari- armeniacum - Common name:Grape Hyacinth - tiny bell-shaped flowers form a compact cluster on tall stems, long narrow leaves and blue blooms mid-spring 4-8 inches height.
  • Muscari- azureum - tiny bell-shaped flowers form a compact cluster on tall stems, flowers open more than Muscari armeniacum and blooms early spring 4-6 inches height.
  • Muscari- comosum - Plumosum Common name - Feather Hyacinth when it first blooms, a feathery plume of flower stems appear (actually flower blooms much later).
  • Muscari-botryoides - Album narrow and less compact flower cluster than other varieties, blooms early spring 5-6 inches height.
  • Muscari-latifolium - clustered blooms with broad leaves.

Some species are M. armeniacum, M. aucheri, M. azureum, M. botryoides, M. latifolium, M. muscarimi - M. moschatum, M. racemosum -M. neglectum

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Facts About Muscari Flowers

  • Muscari - The grape hyacinth that we now call Muscari botryoides was originally grown as Hyacinthus botryoides and was in cultivation by 1576, originally collected from Spain. It is named for the grape-like clusters of deep purple flowers. The ancient herbalists, however, seemed dispassionate about the color.
  • The Armenian Grape Hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum) is the most widely planted species because of its vigor and larger flowers. The grape hyacinths prefer full sun and are best utilized for edging beds and in naturalized areas. Grape hyacinths will often send up foliage in the fall, but will not bloom until the following spring.
  • The Grape Hyacinth comes from the Lily family (Liliaceae) and grows with dark green foliage at the base with six to eight basal leaves. The flowers are an eye-catching purplish blue that grow in a terminal cluster of about 12 to 20 on a long stem. The plant will grow to about 6 to 12 inches upright.
  • Muscari flowers and flower buds can be pickled in vinegar.
We call Muscari armeniacum grape hyacinths because they resemble little upside down bunches of minuscule grapes. But they got their botanical name, Muscari, because of their musky smell.

Growing Muscari Flowers

  • In the early fall, plant this bulb.
  • Plant 3 inches deep and 4 inches apart in soil.
  • Soil should contain a good quantity of organic material mixed in.
  • The Plant needs full sun or partial shade.
  • When the buds first start to appear, go ahead and water deeply to saturate the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches.
  • As the foliage and blooms start to appear, you can water a bit deeper if your area doesn?t get much rain.
  • Remember to keep water off the blooms as they will rot quickly if they remain wet for very long.
  • A soaker hose will help with this problem.

Muscari Flowers Plant Care

Give them an occasional liquid feed in the growing season to ensure they do not become nutrient deficient. When the plants become dormant in late summer, pot up the small bulbs placing 2 - 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for another one or two years in the greenhouse before planting them out when they are dormant in late summer. Division of offsets in July/August after the leaves die down. It can be done every other year if a quick increase is required. Larger bulbs can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out when they are dormant in late summer.

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