Sunday , June 25 2017
Muscari armeniacum

Muscari

They flower from early to late spring, soon after the lush, green foliage emerge from the ground, and the flowers secrete lots of nectar so they are a valuable bee plant in the spring, specially if you want a wildlife friendly garden. The flowers are hermaphrodite, have both male and female organs, and are pollinated by insects. The plant is self-fertile. The seeds ripen from mid to late summer then the foliage eventually dies back, but often makes a comeback in the fall.

Muscari can be grown in either full sun or part shade but they cannot grow in full shade. They prefer and perform best in a rich, moist, well-drained soil in a sunny position. If your garden soil is not fulfilling those conditions you can improve it by adding a slow release organic fertilizer. Feed them with bone meal in spring and spread organic fertilizer over the area after blooms have faded but before foliage disappears in order to encourage Muscari to multiply.

Plant Muscari in early to mid autumn, in rich soil that drains well, with the base of bulb at 10-12 cm deep and 5-10 cm apart.

Propagate your Muscari from offsets during their dormancy period, after the leaves die down. You can do this every year if you need a quick spread but a normal division is recommended to every 3 to 4 years. Larger bulbs can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out when they are dormant in late summer.

They can also be propagated from seeds, best sown as soon as they ripe, or in spring, in a greenhouse, but the seeds can also germinate freely and often self-sow. Let the seedlings undisturbed in their pots for their first year of growth, then when the plants become dormant, in late summer, pot up the small bulbs by placing 2-3 bulbs in each pot and grow them on for another one or two years in the greenhouse before planting them out when they are dormant in late summer.

Here are some of the most common used varieties of Muscari

Muscari armeniacum Muscari azureum Muscari comosum Plumosum

Muscari armeniacum, on its common name Grape Hyacinth, wears tiny bell-shaped flowers in shades of white, yellow and blue, that form a compact cluster on tall stems, have long narrow leaves and blooms in mid-spring. Its height varies from 10 to 20 cm.
 
Muscari azureum wears tiny bell-shaped, blue or white flowers that form a compact cluster on tall stems, but the flowers open more than Muscari armeniacum giving it a fuller look. It blooms early spring and its height varies from 10 to 15 cm.

Muscari comosum ‘Plumosum’, on its common name Feather Hyacinth, blooms in late spring, wearing flowers in shades of purple. When it first blooms, a feathery plume of flower stems appear, the real blooms appear much later. It varies in height from 20 to 30 cm.

Muscari botryoides Muscari latifolium Muscari neglectum

Muscari botryoides ‘Album’ wears narrow and less compact flower cluster than other varieties, blooms in early spring and the flowers can be purple, blue and white. Its height varies from 12 to 15 cm.

Muscari latifolium wears clustered blooms with small light purple-blue flowers on top, and larger dark purple-blue flowers on bottom, have broad leaves and blooms in early spring. Its height varies from 15 to 25 cm.

Muscari neglectum produce its bright, mid-green leaves usually in autumn and vary in height from 10 to 20 cm. In spring it bears blue-black flowers with constricted white mouths, in dense racemes of 1-5 cm long.

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One of the most effective and easiest way to grow bulbs is to plant them in a natural setting where they can be left undisturbed to spread and multiply. The bulbs will flower year after year with the minimum of maintenance, adding interest to otherwise dull areas. Bulbs can be naturalized in lawns, in borders or under the canopy of trees.

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