Blue splashes of color within a lush green flower bed – with the grape hyacinth you can easily set decorative and stylish accents in the home garden. Numerous species of the plant, which belongs to the genus Muscari and the hyacinth family, originally come from the Mediterranean and Western Asia. The bright blue flowers with a white border, which sit in lush clusters on long stalks, are particularly striking. Undemanding and robust, even beginners will quickly find pleasure in the plant: If the grape hyacinth is allowed to flourish undisturbed in an optimal location, it will also reproduce itself.

Choose the ideal location and optimal soil

Since the grape hyacinth is very robust, different areas in the garden come into question for the location. The plant thrives particularly well in full sun; However, places under light deciduous trees are also tolerated. When cultivating in the shade, a rather sparse flower formation must also be expected. The grape hyacinth is preferred in rock gardens or on the edge of trees; The plant comes into its own when it is cultivated in groups, for example on borders and beds or as a border. The plant looks stylish between tulips, daffodils, Bellis, Märzenbecher or forsythias. Cultivation is possible both outdoors and in a pot or in a balcony box; however, especially good drainage must be ensured when keeping them in plant containers.

If the grape hyacinth is to be grown in a flower pot, conventional garden soil can be used for the cultivation. Cultivated outdoors, the substrate should have certain properties:

  • permeable to water
  • sandy-loamy composition
  • not too damp
  • not too hard

If the soil is particularly heavy, the substrate should be loosened up a little before use. This can be done, for example, with sand that is mixed under the ground. Basically, grape hyacinths are very flexible and thrive on numerous soils; Cultivation is still possible even with poor substrate.

Watering, thinning and cutting – maintenance

The grape hyacinth requires little maintenance; however, the plant should be watered regularly. In order for the plant to thrive optimally, it has also proven to be useful to add additional fertilizer. If the earth is enriched with plenty of compost in early spring, the grape hyacinth can develop particularly well. Alternatively, blooming fertilizers can also be used; these should be issued once before and once during the flowering period.
Note: The flowering fertilizer should have a high proportion of phosphorus.

Grape hyacinths are able to reproduce quickly by themselves. However, if propagation is not desired, the plant should be cut back in good time. Before the leaves are completely dry, they should be cut off.

Correctly organize wintering

Grape hyacinths belong to the spring flowers that thrive with the help of flower bulbs. These bulbs are frost-free and can be left in the ground during the cold season. If the onions are cultivated in the flower pot, adequate winter quarters must be found as early as autumn. The chosen location must be frost-free and dark. During the winter the earth is kept normally moist. The plant is also fertilized once before budding. As soon as the plant sprouts out of the ground, a lighter location is selected.


The reproduction of the grape hyacinth is often done by the plant itself. With the help of seeds that the plant spreads, new plants emerge. If the site conditions are particularly good, colorful carpets of flowers can develop. To prevent uncontrolled reproduction, the leaves should be cut off before they dry out. If targeted reproduction of the plant is desired, the seeds can be collected and sown at selected locations. The following aspects must be taken into account:

  • Sow in spring or autumn
  • water well at the beginning
  • Flowering appears only after a few years

Usually, however, the grape hyacinth is propagated with the help of brood bulbs. These grow directly on the mother onion and can be dug up during the summer months. The onions are then sunk into the ground in autumn.

Note: Propagation via daughter onions only works with plants that are grown outdoors.

In addition, the grape hyacinth can also be propagated by division. This method has proven itself particularly with larger stocks. For this purpose, the plants are carefully lifted out of the earth with a spade after flowering. It is essential to ensure that the roots are not damaged. The division itself takes place by pulling the individual root sections apart. The plants divided in this way should be used immediately.

Planting the grape hyacinths

Often, pre-pulled onions are already available in specialist shops, which are mainly offered in late winter and early spring. Usually it is flowering plants. However, caution is advised when using such onions: Often not very robust and not particularly resistant, they are particularly suitable for bowls, balcony boxes or as room decorations. However, if you missed the autumn planting season, you can try these onions on beds. Usually, however, cultivation in the field is more difficult.

Before planning the planting of grape hyacinths, the onions that will be used should be carefully examined. These should meet the following criteria:

  • healthy and free from rotten spots
  • plump, firm and juicy
  • large but free of spongy tissue
  • do not use dried specimens

The rule of thumb for planting grape hyacinths is: The bulbs are inserted three times as deep as they are themselves high. The plant depth in grape hyacinths is therefore between five and eight centimeters. When planting, it is essential to ensure that the tips point upwards. The plant organs must be in contact with the earth towards the underside. The plant hole is best dug with a spade. The subsoil should be loosened accordingly; then the onions are put into the soil. The distance between the individual plants should ideally be four to six centimeters.

In principle, several specimens should always be set for this type of plant! After being inserted into the earth, the plants are covered with the substrate. The surface is carefully pressed or tapped. If there are particularly heavy soils on which grape hyacinths do not thrive, the soil should be prepared accordingly. For this purpose, the plant hole is dug a little deeper; First of all, a drainage layer is placed on the ground, which should be about three centimeters thick. This works best with sand. Before the substrate is refilled, it should also be mixed with sand.

Alternatively, the planting also works in the lawn. However, the grass cover must first be broken for this purpose. For this purpose, the sward is lifted off in small pieces. Alternatively, the lawn can also be pierced in an H-shape with a spade. The sods can then be easily opened after removing the roots. Now the subsurface can be loosened. The bulbs are planted and the sods are placed over the planting site. The edges are carefully pressed firmly.

Basically, the onions of grape hyacinths can cause allergic reactions. For this reason, gloves should be worn during the planting process.

Fight diseases effectively

The smut fungus is a typical disease of the grape hyacinth. This group of fungi, of which 1200 different species exist, are very highly developed and can cause lasting damage to the plant. Once the infection has occurred, the entire plant will be overgrown with the mycelium within a short period of time; however, the characteristic symptoms often appear predominantly in a selected plant organ. In the case of grape hyacinths, a characteristic damage pattern is presented, especially on the flower heads:

  • black, charred spots
  • sometimes dusty
  • white spots or light-colored spore powder (light burn)

The risk of an infestation with smut fungi is particularly higher in plants that are not properly cared for. In this context, an unfavorable location also plays a major role; Unfavorable areas in the garden or a plant that is too dense can significantly increase the susceptibility of grape hyacinths. If the plant is already sick, the affected parts should be removed. In addition, targeted prevention is also possible; With the help of various plant strengtheners, the plant can be specifically protected from the fungi. A broth made from field horsetail has proven particularly useful for this purpose.

In addition, poor watering behavior can have a detrimental effect on the plant; Particularly too large portions of water that are given in one watering process, as well as standing water or soil that is too damp, can cause a rotting process that affects the onions in particular. In this case, the soil should be prepared accordingly. Rotten onions must be removed and replaced with new ones.


Mice, for example field mice or voles, are known as classic pests of grape hyacinths. The rodents cause damage that mainly affects the onions and causes them to rot. However, the mice should not be controlled by chemical means. Cultivating special plants – for example imperial crown, dog’s tongue, garlic and milkweed can help keep voles away, in particular. The use of petroleum-soaked rags in the rodents’ corridors also contributes to the depletion of the population. In this case, pet owners benefit from the cats’ instinct to hunt; if these were not removed from the mother immediately after birth, they could learn specific hunting skills that they can use in the home garden.

The grape hyacinth is a real asset for many areas in the garden; the colorful flowers go well with numerous other plants, but also look appealing within a lawn. Well cared for, the plant is quite robust and resistant. If there are not too many mice in the garden that can damage onions, garden owners will enjoy the grape hyacinth for a long time.

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