by Gini Sage
Grape Hyacinths, or Muscari, are actually not Hyacinths at all. They are members of the Lily family, and are native to the Mediterranean and Asia Minor.
These delicate looking spring bulbs are actually quite hardy, and will naturalize well in almost any conditions. They prefer sunny to partially shaded exposure in moist, but well drained soil. Grape Hyacinths should be planted in the fall, approximately 8 cm deep, for an early to mid-May blossom. They may also be ‘forced’ indoors in the winter. The flower stalks will grow from 15 to 20 cm tall in shades of blue to rich purple. Other cultivars are available with white or pinkish-mauve blossoms. The flowers have a delicate, sweet smell. Like any bulb, let the leaves die back naturally before removing them.
Grape Hyacinths are wonderful companion bulbs to daffodils, tulips and true hyacinths. For those of you who have problems with deer or squirrels eating your bulbs and plants, they will not touch the Grape Hyacinth.
Article originally published in the Uxbridge Horticultural Society Newsletter, April 2009