Do you have a bundle of grape hyacinths that are blooming and you’re wondering how to propagate them from seed?
Or did you pick up a pack of hyacinth bulbs at the store and wondering how to to plant them?
Regardless, grape hyacinths (Muscari) are an amazing, delicate plant. The colors of blue, purple, white, yellow, and turquoise sway carelessly in the wind.
Grape hyacinths are an aromatic, sweet-scented plant that’s relatively easy to propagate from bulb or seed.
They’re a lily and not a true hyacinth. Muscari propagation is extremely easy from both bulb and seed.
Depending on your circumstances, if you don’t have time or patience, stick with bulb propagation.
Seed takes years to flower, but perfect for those looking for a rewarding experience.
they’re perfect for a side piece or as a border plant and suitable for many different hardiness zones.
With low maintenance and minimal needs, they’re a perfect plant for beginners to propagate. They also grow quickly, so your efforts pay off fast.
Whatever the case, let’s get started so you can put this plant around your entire yard and be surrounded by hyacinths!
Grape hyacinths get their name from the tightly bundled florets that look like grapes at the tip of each flower.
There are many different types of hyacinths, but grape hyacinths aren’t related to them.
They have the grape clusters and they have a sweet-smelling aroma that’s especially prominent at night and during the early morning.
Each plant grows up to 12” and there are 1-3 stalks per plant. They sprout in early spring and usually result in colors that are blue and white.
Some hyacinths may also sprout orange, yellow, pink, and mauve florist.
These can be grown in hardiness zones 3-9 and are super easy to grow.
They’re a good plant for beginners that want to propagate from bulb or seed. If you don’t do anything but the bare minimum, they’ll likely reproduce so quickly you’ll need to prune them to keep them tidy.
These pretty grape-like plants are a stunning addition to any garden with their blue clusters and fragrance.
|Plant type||Ornamental flowering bulb|
|Days to maturity||2 years (bulb), 4 years (seed)|
|How much water?||Moderate|
|What color blooms?||Blue, purple, white, yellow, green, pink|
How to propagate from bulb
You can reproduce them from a bulb in early spring when the stalks flower.
While you can start from seed, going from bulb is much faster because you don’t have to wait 3 years for a plant to be ready to propagate.
You can start as early as spring, but waiting until fall has some benefits- namely that they’ll have a nicer bloom next season.
The process is easy:
Wait until spring to dig up the bulbs or post-flowering and the florets begin to die back. Don’t harvest early so you get fast blooms.
- Wet the soil around the bulbs.
- Use a garden spade and slowly dig up the soil. Avoid damaging the bulbs. Start by digging outside in a circular perimeter and then get closer to the bulbs.
- Pull the bulbs up in a gentle manner. Remove excess soil.
- Separate by size and choose the largest ones. Leave the small ones.
- Choose your new planting site where you want to propagate them.
- Dig a wide plot about 3” in depth with 2” spacing. The flat side faces down.
- Add plant food, well-draining soil, and organic compost or manure for best results.
- Use sand or gritty substrate for hard soil so it drains well.
- Add bone meal or bulb fertilizer.
- Start adding soil around the bulb and keep them in place.
- Add your first jug of water to the plot.
That’s it! Expect new foliage by summer and repeat the process with the other bulbs that you didn’t choose because of size.
Dry soil will make it hard to pull the bulbs apart since they grow so close together. Wet the soil first.
This speeds up the process and makes it easier for you to separate the bulbs.
Each bulb will be different in size, so only pick out the biggest and healthiest ones to propagate. This will make your time easier.
Avoid small ones and leave them in the dirt. Medium bulbs can also be used, however, you’ll need to wait a year or two for them to flower.
How to propagate from seed
Propagating from seed isn’t any harder than from bulb, but it’s a lot slower.
If you’re in a hurry to see your grape hyacinths bloom in all their beauty, skip the seed and go for the bulb.
But if you want to, it’s easy.
- Grape hyacinth plants will sprout seed pods that blow off in the wind and disperse. This happens after bloom and the seed pods sprout new plants.
- If you want to collect the seeds to harvest, you can pick them up as they fall off the plant.
- The pods of seeds are easy to spot and should be right next to the host plant. Pick them up and store them or directly sow them to your new plot site.
- They propagate easily but will take time until they produce plants of their own.
This is assuming you have the right hardiness zone for the seeds. If you plan to ship them out or plant them elsewhere, you’ll have to store them in the fridge for a period of cold stratification.
This takes up to 90 days and this video details the process:
After they’re out of the fridge, let them dry and remove the pods and extract the small seeds. You’re ready to plant.
Naturally, the beauty of hyacinths shows the most when they get natural sunlight daily.
Outdoor seed propagation proves to be simple even for the newbie.
Use a start kit and place seeds in rows on top of a 1” layer of soil.
Add a thin layer of soil above the seeds. Over with a clear lid and place it in the cold frame over the winter. This should take about 12 weeks.
Spritz occasionally to keep the seeds moist. Eventually, they’ll sprout. Seeds take a long time to flower and you’ll have to transplant them after they’ve sprouted.
Regardless, you’ll need to be extremely patient with these and monitor them every week. If you don’t have the time to do this, start with bulb planting for quicker results. But the reward from sowing seeds is real.
Use a paper towel and place the seeds in rows.
Spritz the towel so it’s wet. Place the towel and seeds into a plastic bag and seal it partially.
Allow some air to circulate, but enough of a seal to keep it moist. Put the bag in the fridge for 12 weeks. The seeds will take a long time to sprout.
But once they do, they can be transplanted outdoors after the last frost. Indoor planting is a lot easier to deal with because the temperature is controlled.
Outdoor planting is difficult because the temperature fluctuates.
Did you propagate your Muscari?
You should have everything you need to know to get started on your own colorful blooms.
Grape hyacinths make a pretty addition to any garden and growing from seed or bulb is rewarding.
If you have any questions, post your comment and we’ll get back to you!
I took interest into microflora and microgreens before it became mainstream. The idea of growing an entire ecosystem on a tiny scale simply was astounding. That’s where I discovered that I actually like raising plants and wasn’t as much of a black thumb as I thought. Now, I’m relaying what I’ve learned to others who are getting into the hobby in a way that anyone can understand.