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Grape hyacinth

Family: Liliaceae
Botanical name: Muscari armeniacum

Grape hyacinths (also known by their Latin name of Muscari) are one of the first flower bulbs to bloom in the spring. The garden could really use the colour after the harsh cold season. Grape hyacinths brighten up the garden.

A sophisticated name

The name ‘grape hyacinth’ is perfect for this little bulb flower. After all, each of their flower clusters looks like a miniature cluster of grapes. Did you know that these elegant beauties symbolise humility and modesty? This is because you have to get down on your knees to admire them. Muscari, their official scientific name, sounds more sophisticated. This name refers to the word ‘musk’ due to the musk-like fragrance that some varieties produce.

Popular

The original habitat of these popular little flower bulbs includes the Mediterranean, Central Asia and the Caucasus. There are about forty different varieties of grape hyacinths. Their small, bell-shaped flowers are clustered tightly together and are usually blue. The margins of the flowers often have a pretty white edging. Did you know that grape hyacinths could be purchased as far back as 1596? At that time, they cost what would now be 4.50 euros a bulb.

A magnet for bees

The most familiar species is Muscari armeniacum. The most important advantage of this species is that it remains attractive for such a long time. It also attracts many bees. This benefits biodiversity. Although called grape hyacinths, not all varieties are blue. Some are purple, pink, or white or even display two colours. Did you know that some are even double-flowered?

An all-round good flower bulb

Grape hyacinths can easily tolerate frost and are also easy to grow. No wonder that any garden could do with some grape hyacinths. The plant itself grows to a height of 10 to 25 centimetres with each little bulb producing more than one cluster of flowers. If you would like to enjoy grape hyacinths in the spring, plant them in the autumn between October and December before the first frost.

Tips

  • Do you like to have bright colours in your garden? If so, plant clusters of at least 25 grape hyacinths closely together. What a pretty sight they will make in the spring!
  • What if you have a patio or balcony instead of a garden? You can also enjoy grape hyacinths here. They will thrive in pots and give you lots of colour in the spring. Muscari armeniacum is most commonly used for this purpose.
  • But what if your fingers aren’t that green or you simply want instant results? In this case, buy grape hyacinths as pre-forced bulbs in pots in the spring. You can find these convenience items in the garden centre or at the market. Just place them in a pretty pot or plant them in the garden for instant gratification.
  • Maybe you’d like a cheerful combination of plants. If so, plant grape hyacinths along with Grecian windflowers (Anemone blanda).

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