Common Name: grape hyacinth
Native Range: Southeastern Europe to Caucasus
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Royal blue with a thin white rim on each bell
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Black Walnut
Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plant bulbs about 3” deep and 3” apart in fall. Flowers emerge in early spring. Keep ground moist during the spring growing season, but reduce watering after foliage begins to die back. Plants are dormant from late spring to autumn when leaves again appear. Leaves survive the cold St. Louis winter (albeit often in an unkempt fashion) before plants burst into flower in early spring. Plants will naturalize by bulb offsets, but not aggressively.
Muscari armeniacum, commonly called grape hyacinth, is an early spring-blooming bulbous perennial that is native to southeastern Europe (including Armenia). It features conical racemes of slightly fragrant, tightly packed, deep violet blue, urn-shaped flowers atop scapes rising to 8” tall in early spring. Each bulb produces 1-3 scapes with 20-40 flowers per scape. Each flower has a thin white line around the rim. Dense inflorescence purportedly resembles an elongated, upside-down bunch of grapes, hence the common name. Scapes rise up from somewhat floppy clumps of narrow, fleshy, basal, green leaves (to 12” long) that appear in autumn and live through the cold St. Louis winter to spring when the plants flower.
Genus name comes from the Turkish name recorded by Clusius in 1583. Possibly from the Latin word muscus in reference to flower aroma.
Specific epithet refers to Armenia part of its native range.
No serious insect or disease problems.
Provides spectacular drifts of color when massed in open areas, around shrubs, under deciduous trees, in the rock garden or in the border front. Also mixes well with other early blooming bulbs. Popular container plant. Also forces easily for winter bloom.