How do you use grape hyacinths (muscari)?

birchhillApril 22, 2013

I have planted grape hyacinths in various locations around my rather small yard, a decision I have now come to regret. I quite like the flowers but the plant itself is problematic. First of all, it spreads quite aggressively over time and pops up where it's not wanted. The foliage appears in the fall and stays over winter which makes the fall cleanup more difficult. It also seems to harbor weeds -- mine are intermingled with wild onion and impossible to separate.

Is this a plant that works best in a more "natural" and less "controlled" landscape? If so, I have other locations where I could give it a try.

Any suggestions?

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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I hate the messy spring foliage and trim it back to an inch or so before bloom. The rabbits tipped me off to this, the year they first ate off all the leaves I was annoyed, but when the blooms came up all nice and neat I thanked them. Now I do it every year and the muscari don't seem to mind.
Otherwise they look weedy and unless they're growing in a lawn it's not a look I'm crazy about.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 1:47PM
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I use mine as a groundcover under shrubs, such as rosebushes. It has not spread at all, because it can't compete with the evil mix of sedum and periwinkle which was there when I got the house. I don't really weed except when I'm redoing a whole bed, and the muscari are actually one of the most weed-free areas of the garden - they seem to be able to hold their own against the hawkweeds and dandelions, which I find impressive. I'd think a border of stones or a railroad tie would keep them in quite effectively because they are so short.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:58PM
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rigelcaj(z5 VT)

I use them to mark where I've planted other bulbs, thanks to the fall foliage. The leaves have never bothered me - I have low standards. What drives me crazy is digging up an existing bulb while trying to plant a new one. Mine don't seem to spread too crazily, probably because I'd like them to.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 3:13PM
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I love these but I have the same problem birchhill. Partially my own fault... There is a circle of dirt, enclosed with rocks where a tree used to be (I assume) in my back yard. The previous owner had filled the circle with grape hyacinths. They were nice to see in the spring but my stampede of three dogs... the muscari would soon meet their match. So I dug them up and put them in the front yard (like an idiot, edging the front hedge and bed... so their grassy looking leaves looked like the lawn grass creeping up into the flower beds... not my brightest idea). Then it hit me... they're going to take over. So now I'll have to dig them up later in the summer/fall and find somewhere else for them. Somewhere they can take over without me regretting it and somewhere that they dont look like grass popping up where it shouldn't be. Oye

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 7:02AM
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I spent yesterday digging up an entire flower bed they took over. I have two Costco spinach boxes filled with the little things and have no clue what to do with them. My inclination is to take them out to the back field and spread them. What lives lives and what doesn't doesn't.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 10:55AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

I inadvertently discovered a nice thing to do with the bulbs that appear where you don't want them. When the bulb is blooming, I pop the whole thing out of the ground (easy to do when they are growing in a gravel path, for example). I group a few bulbs in a clear bud vase and add water. It's a very cute display that gives the bulbs some appreciation before they head to the compost pile.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 10:22AM
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