Muscari: Planting And Care In The Open Air, Cultivation And Storage

Muscari is also called mouse hyacinth or viper onion. This bulbous perennial belongs to the Asparagaceae family, but previously this genus was a member of the Lily or Hyacinth family. There are about 60 species in this genus. In natural conditions such plants can be found on the edges of the forest, among bushes and on the mountain slopes of the Caucasus, Crimea, South and Central Europe, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean. They are among the earliest spring flowers and are very often grown as cut flowers.

Muskrush flowers have a very strong but fairly pleasant scent. Muskrats are small but very showy flowers that decorate lawns, alpinaries and flowerbeds. Such flowers are also used as border plants.

Features of muskrats

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

Egg-shaped muskrats bulbs have light-colored outer scales. Bulbs reach 20 mm in diameter and 15-35 mm in length.

The root linear leaflets are up to 17 centimeters long and grow up to 6 per specimen. Leaflets grow in the spring, but they can reappear in the fall. These plants can reach a height of about 0.3 meters. The leafless flower stalk carries flowers with perianths that are barrel-shaped, cylindrical or tubular in shape and have 6 petals joined together and curved at the edges.

The coloration may vary from dark blue to white. The diameter and length of the florets are 5 mm. These flowers are part of dense apical or cystic inflorescences, which may reach about 8 centimeters in length. The fruit is a three-necked winged capsule with a heart-shaped or globular shape containing small, wrinkled black seeds. The seeds remain germinating for 12 months after harvesting.

The virtues of the muskrats are that almost all species are highly decorative and they are also very easy to care for.

Growing and care of muscari mouse hyacinth

Muscari armeniacum (Muscari armeniacum)

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

The winter-hardy muscari armeniacum (Colchis) is very popular with gardeners. Its flowering begins in late spring and lasts about 20 days. It is this species that is called the "mouse hyacinth". The florets located in the upper part of the inflorescences are sterile, and they are colored light blue.

The dark blue flowers at the bottom of the flower stalk have a white border. The flowers have a pleasant scent.

The most popular varieties:

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

  1. Muscaria macro Blue Spike. Very decorative due to the fact that the bunch-shaped inflorescence contains up to 170 flowers. Very easy to handle, often used for cutting.

  2. Christmas Pearl. Has very decorative flowers of purple color.
  3. Fantasy Creation. A very showy variety due to its combination of greenish-blue and blue flowers.

Muscari botryoides

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

In natural conditions this species can be found in the Alpine belt of Central and Southern Europe.

It has been a favorite of gardeners since 1576. The flowers of this species are somewhat smaller than those of Armenian muskrats. Almost all varieties are colored in various shades of blue, but there are 2 varieties:

  1. V album. The cluster-like inflorescences consist of white flowers similar to pearls.
  2. V carneum.

    The flowers have a pink coloration.

Muscari broadleaf

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

The leaf plates of this species are very broad and similar to those of a tulip. The inflorescences are dense, cylindrical in shape and dark blue in color. It stands out among other species in that several flower stalks can grow from a single bulb.

Muscari pallens (Muscari pallens)

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

In natural conditions you can find it on mountain slopes.

The flower stalks are short and produce small, bell-shaped, light blue flowers. The most popular variety is White Rose Beauty: the color of its florets is light pink.

Muscari crested (Muscari comosum)

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

A very showy species. In the wild it prefers to grow among shrubs, on edges of forests, and in dry meadows. The flower stalk has a tuft of purple florets that have arc-shaped pedicels.

It looks very effective in lawns or lawns with groundcover. The Plumosum variety is the most popular: the shoots are strongly branched and bear a large number of purple-purple sterile flowers.

Muscari oshe, or Tubergena

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

In nature, it can be found in North-Western Iran. Flowering is observed in mid-spring. Blue flowers have teeth of lighter color.

Good drainage is required. The most popular variety among gardeners is the Tubergen, which is pale in color and sickle-shaped.

Muscari pulchellum

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

This species has a Hebrew name which sounds like kadan nae (beautiful). You can find them in the parks of Ashkelon. They start blooming in the wintertime.

The flower stalks are not tall and on them there are dense short inflorescences of ovoid form, having a deep blue color. The claws of the bend are white in color.

Besides these species the following ones are also very popular among gardeners: cormorants longiflorum, variegated, ambrosial, white-rose, large-fruited, strange, multiflorum, dense-flowered, casserole etc.

Growing muscari in the garden

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

These flowers are quite popular in gardening. They look very good in both decorative vases and rock gardens, with the low-growing varieties used as borders.

Muscari also look very effective in tiered beds, in a composition with other plants blooming in spring. For example, islands of early-blooming daffodils and tulips, which are somewhat higher, look incredibly beautiful against a dense planting of blue-purple muskrats. Also, orange grosbeaks look great next to blue muskrats.

Like other early blooming spring flowers, muskrats start blooming when the shrubs and trees are still completely leafless. Because of this, there is always enough sunlight for these plants.

Without replanting, these flowers can do without for several years in a row, so experienced gardeners are advised to plant them in close proximity to perennials that do not need relatively frequent replanting. For planting, a loose, nutrient-rich and water-permeable soil is very well suited. Experts recommend an elevated site for the muskrat, which should be protected from strong gusts of wind.

Per planting muskrat in the open ground

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

What time to plant

Per planting is recommended in autumn until the last days of October. Planting is best done in groups and note that only muskrats that have been planted in the same place for 5 years or longer can be transplanted.

When buying planting material in a specialized store, you should pay special attention to the condition of the shoots. They should not show signs of disease. In April you can sometimes see seedlings of muskrats in nurseries, which are already in full bloom, and sellers assure that these plants can be immediately transplanted to a permanent place. You can try to take their advice.

How to plant

Before planting, the bulbs should be inspected and the ones that are injured or darkened should be removed.

For preventive purposes, planting material should be disinfected by placing it for 30 minutes in a solution of carbophos (2%). Then it is removed and immersed in potassium manganese solution (1%) for half an hour. Also, 24 hours before planting the bulbs, you must prepare the planting holes, they should be abundantly watered to soak the entire layer of soil. Before the very planting, the bottom of the wells is covered with a layer of river sand, which will serve as good drainage. Large bulbs are sunk 7 cm into the soil, while leaving a distance between copies of 5 to 10 cm.

Small bulbs should be buried 3 centimeters into the soil, leaving 2 to 3 centimeters of empty space between the bulbs. Planting bulbs in autumn.

Care features

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

The care of muskrats is quite simple, so this plant can be grown even by a beginning gardener. This flower should be watered only at the beginning of active growth, but at this time there is most often a lot of moisture in the soil after snow melt or after heavy spring rains. When the plant is dormant, it does not need watering.

Systematic watering is only necessary if there is little snow during the winter or very little rain in the spring.

If the soil in the area contains little nutrients, it is necessary to apply organic fertilizer. Thus, during autumn, during the digging of the ground can be made compost or humus, with 5 kg of fertilizer per 1 m2. If such fertilizer is systematically applied to the soil in autumn, the muskrats can be grown on the same plot for 10 years. Eventually, however, it will still be necessary to transplant such plants.


Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

Flowering lasts a little longer than 20 days. During this time, you should only loosen the soil surface regularly (after watering) and be very careful not to injure the bulb. You should also do timely weeding and, if necessary, cut off wilted flowers. If you notice over time that the flowers have become less ornamental, it is time to repot them.


Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

Muscari can be propagated vegetatively with the help of decays separated from the mother bulb.

The plant is propagated this way in the fall at the same time as the plot is also being digged up (from the middle to the last days of October).  Repotting should only be done with bushes that have been growing in the same place for 5 to 6 years. However, it is possible to understand that muscaria needs replanting by its appearance. The bulbs should be dug up and then separated from the mother offspring (there are up to 30 pieces). Then the bulbs will need to be propagated in the way described above.

Muscaria multiplication

The vegetative method of propagation is described above. Muskrats also propagate very well by self-seeding. To control the number of these flowers, it is advisable to remove all the flower stalks after they have blossomed, leaving a few if necessary. When the seeds mature, they will need to be collected. Remember that they remain germinating for 12 months.

Sowing should be done in the open ground in the fall, and the seeds should be deepened by 10-20 mm. Sprouts will appear in the spring, and they will look like thin threads. Muskrats raised from seed do not flower for two or three years afterwards.

Diseases and pests

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

Because this plant often develops mosaic disease, it is caused by the yellow dwarfism virus. In an infected specimen, a green mosaic can be seen on the surface of the leaf plates, and they themselves become narrowed, the flower arrow is shortened, and the growth of the plant itself is depressed.

In some cases, the muscaria is infected with the common cucumber mosaic, in which case the leaves become deformed and light green strokes and spots appear on their surface. The carriers of these viruses are aphids, and if it ends up in the bulb, it will remain there. In this regard, all sick plants must be dug up and destroyed to stop the spread of the virus. For prevention purposes, it is recommended to destroy aphids on the plot in a timely manner. To do this, you can use a soap solution.

For its preparation, 2 large spoonfuls of soap (Fae, Gala) should be mixed with 0.5 liters of water. If spider mites appear, the plants should be treated with avermectin agents (Aktofit, Vertimek, Fitoverm), sprayed at 18 degrees and the instructions should be followed strictly.

Muscaris after flowering

After flowering, all flower stems should be carefully cut off and fertilized with liquid phosphorous-potassium fertilizer to prepare the bulbs for overwintering. Water the muskrats less and less.

When the leaves on the bushes completely withered, you need to stop watering them at all. In the autumn time, it is necessary to re-cultivate the plot, and the bushes of five years of age should be transplanted. From bushes that are not transplanted this year, you need to remove the old leaf plates. Plants that have been transplanted or seeded should be covered with a layer of mulch (peat).

Storing muskrat bulbs

Muscari: planting and care in the open air, cultivation and storage

Digging the bulbs for winter is not at all necessary, but quite possible.

But to save the planting material until spring you should know a few rules:

  1. After the leaves begin to dry out, you must dig the bulbs out.
  2. The bulbs will dry out for several days and then be put in moistened pure sand or peat.
  3. The planting material should be examined once every 7 days and any rotten, diseased or soft bulbs discarded.
  4. Store the bulbs at 70% humidity and a temperature of -17┬░C.

But remember that this plant should be planted in the autumn and it is not necessary to store the bulbs until spring.

An early undemanding perennial Muscari (Mouse Hyacinth)


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