Muscari azureum
Common Name: grape hyacinth
Type: Bulb
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Eastern Turkey
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Plant bulbs in fall about 2-3” deep and 3-4” 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 go dormant in summer). Propagate by bulb offsets or seed. This species will naturalize by self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Muscari azureum, commonly known as grape hyacinth, is native to Eastern Turkey and the Caucasus. Tiny blue flowers (each to 3/16" long) which are densely packed in a conical 20-40 flowered raceme bloom in early spring (March-April) atop a leafless scape rising to 4-6" tall. Flowers are fragrant. Basal, linear, grass-like, gray-green leaves (usually 2-5 leaves per bulb) rise to 6" long in spring, but elongate after flowering to 10-12" long before eventually withering in the heat of the summer as the plant goes dormant. Although flowers in the genus Muscari are typically urn-shaped, the flowers of this species are open bell-shaped (nearly unconstricted mouths reminiscent of hyacinth) as reflected by prior designations of this plant as Hyacinthella azurea, Hyacinthus azureus and Pseudomuscari azureum.

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 from Latin means sky blue in obvious reference to flower color.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

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.