Grape hyacinths paint the spring landscape in stunning shades of blue, purple, white, or yellow, while offering up a sweet scent of grape bubblegum as well. These easy-care bulbs are frequently mass-planted to create a river effect in borders. They make the perfect low companion for the taller blooms of tulips. These undemanding small bulbs spread easily in any well-drained garden soil.
Year after year, you can count on grape hyacinths to unfurl their grape-like clusters of tiny purple, blue, white, or yellow bell-shape flowers shortly after the snow melts. Explore the many colors of grape hyacinth, including two-toned Muscari latifolium and the sky-blue flower spikes of 'Valerie Finnis'. These tiny bulbs are inexpensive and easy to plant, so there is no need to limit your selection to just one variety. Plant three to five varieties for a vibrant display.
When pairing grape hyacinths with other spring bulbs, be sure to select early-blooming varieties. For example, choose daffodil varieties such as 'Golden Ducat' and 'Mary Copeland' that are some of the earliest to bloom. Great tulip planting companions include 'Viridiflora', 'Triumph', 'Greigii', and 'Parrot King'.
Grape Hyacinth Care Must-Knows
Grape hyacinths are planted in the fall. Thanks to their small size (most grape hyacinth bulbs are the size of a blueberry), they need to be planted just 3 to 4 inches deep. They'll look most striking when planted in large drifts of 50 to 100 bulbs. One trick to planting large numbers of them is to simply dig a shallow trench, arrange the bulbs so they are about one inch apart, and cover with garden soil. Water bulbs well after planting and cover the planting spot with a 2-inch layer of mulch, if desired.
After blooms fade, the plant's strappy green foliage adds color and texture to the garden for several weeks. The foliage can be removed in early summer after it begins to turn yellow. One of the easiest bulbs to grow, grape hyacinths return for decades, needing to be divided only every 3 to 5 years. Keep in mind that grape hyacinths can spread quickly so it's best to plant them where they'll have room to ramble a little.
More Varieties of Grape Hyacinth
Muscari armeniacum bears small spikes packed with tiny blue bell-shape flowers, sometimes tinged purple, that rise from narrow foliage in mid-spring. It grows 6 inches tall. Zones 4-9
Muscari azureum offers layers of open sky-blue flowers below clustered pale-blue buds, giving a tiered, two-tone effect to the bloom spikes. It blooms in early to mid-spring and grows 6 inches tall. Zones 4-9
Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' is a selection in which each flower protrudes from the spike for a bristly, double-flower effect. This variety grows 8 inches tall. Zones 4-8
Muscari botryites album is an all-white form with spikes of pearly flowers on a long stem that are good for cutting. It grows 6 inches tall. Zones 4-8
Muscari latifolium is distinguished by the single broad leaf wrapped around the tall stem. The flower spike is a two-tone mixture of open lavender bells above tight blue buds. The plant grows 6 inches tall. Zones 4-9