Grape hyacinths (muscari armeniacum) dying out

weezi(z5b/6a Toronto ON)May 4, 2009

About 4 or 5 years ago, for 2 or 3 successive years, I planted lots of muscari bulbs. Most were in partial shade, but some got more sun than others.

For a couple of years, I had a wonderful show - there were lots of them and they looked terrific. But then, instead of multiplying, as I expected, they have slowly been dying out, and this year I have hardly any coming up.

They get a reasonable amount of water (soaker system) and are in a raised bed which was constructed using 4-way mix (topsoil, manure, sand, peat) and where I add compost at least once a year.

I don't think the squirrels can be getting them all, and anyway, I don't think squirrels like muscari.

Other small bulbs (scilla, crocus, chionodoxa) do fine in my garden, but they do get a little more sun.

Anyone have any idea what the problem is?

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Carrie B(6B/7A)

Your irrigation system may be contributing to the problem. Muscari (and most other bulbs) prefer to be pretty dry during the summer. They could be rotting out.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 4:05PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

More cruelty required, IMO.
Lots of sun. No compost. No summer water except for rain. Thin out at least every couple of years and only replant the bigger bulbs.

If you ground-grow succulents such as Echeveria - similar conditions are needed for the Muscari otherwise they either wither away or overwhelm you with lots of lush leaves and very few flowers.

You could 'cheat'... put them in pots, bring them to flower, plunge where wanted for display - and then whisk away to sunbathe. If you have a sunny, easy to reach shed roof with a mild pitch you could park them there for summer - remembering to repot in July or August.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 10:58PM
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