Being in cultivation since 1576 in England, Muscari is a plant that has stood the test of time! There are over forty species of plants in the genus Muscari which all produce spikes of blue flowers which resemble bunches of grapes. The two most common species in cultivation are the Muscari armeniacum(typically blue in color) and Muscari botryoides var. alba (typically white in color). Muscari are very easy to grow and bloom in early to late spring depending on the species. Their lovely blooms range in color from blue, purple, to white and grow well in rock gardens, borders, and as under-plantings for tulips, daffodils, and other taller spring blooming bulb plants. Rodents and deer tend to shun this plant which makes them great for naturalizing along the edges of wooded areas!

Planting Muscari in Outdoor Areas

1. Muscari are planted in fall. They will form roots in fall and will bloom in early to mid-spring.
2. Muscari is a durable plant and will grow in most locations but prefers cool moist soil. However like many other bulbs it prefers well drained soil and does not like having wet feet.
3. Muscari grow best when planted in partial sun, however are tolerant of full sun.
4. Muscari are best when used for naturalizing an area, to attain this look you can simply map out an area you would like them to grow and dig that whole area about 2-3” deep and then scatter the bulbs about for a natural look. If you desire to evenly space them at time of planting, 2-3” is sufficient however not necessary.
5. It can be somewhat difficult to determine which end of a Muscari bulb is “up”. If you are unsure of which side is up, plant with the flattest side down, the bulb will be smart enough to turn towards the sun, but may just take a few extra days to reach the surface.
6. Thoroughly soak the area with water once all the bulbs have been planted.Water as needed while the plant is growing and blooming.
7. After the flowers have died, allow the foliage to yellow and die back. The leaves will continue to gather sunlight and make food for next year’s blooms.
8. Once the foliage has yellowed and dried, the foliage may be removed by gently pulling it out of the soil. If the leaves do not easily pull away from the bulb, they are not ready to be removed. Your bulbs are now dormant and ready to “rest” until next year!

Planting Grape Hyacinths in Containers

1. Choose containers that have good drainage holes, easy to move around and will not be sensitive to freezing temperatures.
2. Fill containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Just as when planted in the ground make sure the bulbs do not sit wet. Adequate drainage holes are a must!
3. Place containers in a location where they will receive partial to full sun.
4. Space the Muscari bulbs close together, just as long as they are not touching each other or the sides of the container.
5. Plant the bulbs approximately 2-3” deep. With the flattest side down. If you cannot determine which side is the flattest, the bulb will naturally turn itself around towards the light.
6. Thoroughly soak the container with water once all the bulbs have been planted. Water as needed while the plant is growing and blooming.
7. Muscari need a “cool period”…they will not survive if frozen. Therefore, if you live in an area where winters are severe and the ground freezes, the container needs to be moved into a cool place that does not receive frost, such as a garage or cool basement. If the container is too large or heavy to move inside, bubble wrap or burlap can be used to protect the pot from freezing.
8. As the weather begins to warm up, monitor the pot for signs of Muscari sprouts. Once the sprouts are seen, gradually expose the pot to a sunny patio or lawn area. If you left the container outdoors and wrapped it for protection, remove this protection at this time.
9. Enjoy these lovely flowers in your pot or plant them in the yard at this time.
10. After the flowers have died, allow the foliage to yellow and die back. The leaves will continue to gather sunlight and make food for next year’s blooms.
11. Once the foliage has yellowed and dried, the foliage may be removed by gently pulling it out of the soil. If the leaves do not easily pull away from the bulb, they are not ready to be removed. Your Muscari are now dormant and ready to “rest” until next year!

Forcing Muscari for Indoor blooms or Growing in Warm Weather Areas

If you are located in an area which does not get cool enough winters (Zones 8b and further south) or would like Muscari blooming indoors late winter follow these instructions. The bulbs will need to be in this environment for 10-16 weeks

1. You will need an artificially cool environment such as a refrigerator or chilled cellar. Take care not to place the bulbs near apples or other fruits that produce ethylene gases as this will cause the bulbs to rot.
2. Choose pots that store easily and are easy to move. 6-8” plastic bulb pans work the best.
3. Fill the containers with a good quality well-draining soil. Make sure the containers have adequate drain holes this is a MUST!
4. Space the Muscari bulbs close together, just as long as they are not touching each other or the sides of the container.
5. The plants should be planted just deep enough that the tips of them are showing through the soil.
6. Water the container well after planting. Keep the soil slightly moist during the cool period, but not wet as this could encourage the bulbs to rot. After you have watered the container you may move it to the refrigerator or chill cellar.
7. Once 10-16 weeks has passed and you start to see tender shoots forming, you can gradually expose the bulbs to sunlight and warmer temperatures. Keeping the bulbs in a cool 68 degree room in your home is ideal while they are blooming.
8. Enjoy your lovely Muscari blooms
9. After flowering allow the foliage to yellow and dry. Once the foliage has yellowed and dried you may remove it.

Give your Tete-a-Tete daffodils 1 inch of water weekly if it hasn’t rained. Begin watering when the leaves appear above ground in the spring. Continue the weekly watering until 3 weeks after they finish flowering. Stop watering at this point. Never overwater because the bulbs will rot in the ground.

Fertilize when the daffodils begin to bloom with a fertilizer low in nitrogen such as 8-24-24, 2-6-12 or 1-2-2. Follow the label instructions for mixing and applying the fertilizer. Mix bonemeal with the fertilizer at 2 cups per 100 square feet of garden space for the final fertilization in the fall just after they finish blooming. Rake the fertilizer and bonemeal into the soil and water well.

Pick the dead blooms off the plants, or deadhead, regularly during blooming to keep them from setting seed.

Cut the foliage to 1 inch above ground 6 to 8 weeks after the end of blooming to prepare the Tete-a-Tete daffodils for winter. Mulch with 2 inches of straw or dried leaves for the winter. Remove an inch of the mulch in early spring. Alternatively, dig up the bulbs, rinse off the dirt, cut off the leaves and place them in a mesh bag or old nylon stocking and hang them in a cool, well-ventilated area until fall.

Replant the Tete-a-Tete daffodil bulbs in late fall 6 inches deep and 6 inches apart in well-drained soil in full to part sun.

Divide Tete-a-Tete daffodils every 5 to 10 years to eliminate overcrowding. At 6 to 8 weeks after blooming stops, loosen the soil around the plant with a trowel, being careful not to slice into the bulbs. Grasp the plant at the base of the leaves and gently pull the bulbs out of the ground. If they don’t come out easily, use the trowel to loosen the dirt. Once the bulbs are out, carefully pull the bulb mass apart and set half of it back into the original spot. Cover with soil and pat firmly. Replant the other half of the bulb mass immediately or hang them to dry for the summer.

Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) resemble daffodils, but feature pure white flowers. Unlike other narcissus varieties, paperwhites can’t tolerate cold weather and don’t require a period of dormancy before blooming. They are often grown as indoor winter plants, but you can also plant them outdoors in mild U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 through 11. Properly caring for the potted plants after they bloom improves their chances of surviving in the garden.

Pruning
The paperwhite foliage remains green even after the last flower has wilted and died because the leaves are still absorbing sunlight and nutrients to replenish the stores in the flower bulb. Prune away the dead flowers but leave the leaves on the plant until they yellow and die back on their own. Provide the plant with plenty of sunlight by placing it near a brightly lit window. It typically takes about six weeks for the foliage to begin dying back naturally, at which time it’s OK to remove it.

Water and Fertilizer
The plant still requires regular watering until the foliage dies back naturally. Check the soil moisture every two or three days and water it when the top 1/2 inch begins to feel dry. Paperwhites require evenly moist soil and won’t tolerate overly dry or soggy conditions. Any water left standing in the drip tray reabsorbs and makes the soil soggy, so empty it after each watering. An application of a soluble balanced fertilizer formulated for potted flowering pots, applied after flowering completes, helps replenish the nutrients in the bulb. Apply fertilizer at the rate recommended on the label for your pot size.

Transplanting
Paperwhites rarely flower again in a pot because the forcing process is too stressful. Transplant the paperwhites outside after all frost danger passes in spring, often after the foliage has died back and the bulbs have gone dormant. Plant the bulbs in a sunny, well-drained bed. Sow each bulb with the pointed top 2 inches beneath the soil surface and space the bulbs 6 to 8 inches apart. The bulbs require no care during summer and winter dormancy, but will require regular watering once they send up new growth the following spring.

Garden-Grown Paperwhites
Bulbs grown as garden plants require similar after-bloom care as potted plants. Trim off the flowers after they wilt and continue watering the plants. Apply a fertilizer formulated for garden bulbs after bloom to help replenish the nutrients in the soil. Only remove foliage after it dies back naturally. If the bulbs have been in the garden for more than three years and the bed seems crowded, you can dig up the bulbs after the foliage dies, divide and replant them.

1 Plant the bulbs second half of October
2 Next three weeks 70 -80F for start rooting and sprouting
3 After three weeks temperature can be slightly lower, limited water
4 Bloom with Christmas / holidays, give more water to maximize flower size
5 After flowering remove old stems. Now the bulb must grow and flowers must develop inside the bulb for the next season
6 Period till begin of August: good light conditions, temperature 70 to 80F, regular watering and every two month a little bit fertilizer
7 Begin of August: bring the plant for a 10 weeks period to a cooler place: 50 to 60 F to initiate stem elongation. Decrease watering
8 Half October: Bring the plant back to a warmer place, 70 to 80F. Remove the leaves, start slightly watering after visible leaf and stem sprouting
9 Amaryllis will bloom at Christmas/holidays
10 Repeat this every year
11 Replant every three to four years after the cool period the bulb in new, fresh peat

This type of plant takes very little watering, maybe 1 cup every week! However ensure there is always a layer of water at the bottom of the vase to promote continued growth.

Please do not remove the bulbs from the arrangement; this will disturb the root growth. On occasion, mold may form on the bottom of the bulb. This natural event is harmless and the mold will disappear as soon as the plant is done flowering.

If the plant happens to topple, you can easily put a stake next to the plant and tie them together, thus keeping the plant in an upright position. Also, rotating the plant weekly during its growth prevents the plant from growing toward the light and will help ensure that the plant grows upright.

Place the centerpiece anywhere you would like at room temperature; be sure the room has sufficient light during the day. Water sparingly – only add about a half cup of water every 2-3 days, taking care to not allow water to flow inside the top of the bulb.

Do not submerge your amaryllis bulb.

Between 85-90% of all amaryllises (Hippeastrum) are grown for indoor culture only, however in warmer climates they can grow successfully. They should be grown in hardiness zone 8 and up, and should be planted where they get some sun every day. Take care that they do not receive too much sun as it can cause the leaves to burn. Most amaryllises readily naturalize and over the years produce beds of lovely flowers. Some are evergreen and will not lose their leaves during winter while the leaves of others are deciduous and will die back until spring. Protect these outdoor plants from night frost.

If desired, pots with bulbs can be buried in the garden for less maintenance and watering. In this case they also look more “natural” in the garden setting but they will have to be dug up in the fall if you later want to force for indoor flowering. Amaryllis roots do need oxygen (many species are epyphitic).

When potting or planting make sure sphagnum moss is no deeper than 1 cm below the bulb. A granulated mixture works best (starting with the smaller granules and ending with the biggest either perlite, akadama, a naturally occurring, granular clay like mineral that is used as soil for bonsai trees and other container or clay balls) in the root area to keep a good level of gas exchange and protect your plant from root rot.

Fall (Autumn) care

Except in very hot climates, cut back on watering in September. This is done to prevent rot as the bulb enters its resting period and no longer requires regular watering. If in a heavy rain climate, then move the bulb inside or to a covered porch. Otherwise, bulbs can be left outside in the sun until the night temperature regularly reaches 10 C (50 F). Bulbs can survive a light night frost, but not a heavy freeze.

Annual repotting is not necessary when large pots are used. But if necessary, begin the inspection/repotting phase in October or early November (depending on location and temperature): remove the top 5-7 cm (2-3″) of soil and pull the bulb up. Inspect the roots for signs of parasites, disease or rot (note: healthy roots are white and slightly fuzzy). If the bulb and its roots look healthy, then put it back in its pot and replace the soil removed with new soil. Replace all soil every other year. If desired add 5 cc (1 teaspoon) of granulated fertilizer to the pot before replacing the bulb. If this is your preference, do not feed it during the summer. Also, cut off any yellow or dead leaves.

• After flowering the bulb is almost ‘empty’. So to encourage flowering next year it is very important that the bulb builds up new reserves. This rest period allows new flowers to be developed in the bulb. Optimum rest would include (very) good light conditions and preferably a warm climate of 70F to 80F.

• So what to do?

• After flowering remove the dead flower stems, don’t remove the foliage.

• If the plant is in a small pot, replant the bulb in a large pot, at least twice the diameter of the bulb. Use a good quality well drained planters mix or peat moss.
• If the bulb is already in a wide pot, replanting is not necessary.

• Amaryllis, specially the bulbs, prefer a warm climate of 70F to 80F and a light place

• If the outdoor temperature is within the acceptable range, it can also be grown outdoors. Typically those in the warmer, southern climates have the best luck with this method.

• Water regularly, using a basic plant feed every two month at a low rate.

• About 6 to 7 months after flowering, move the plant to a cool location of 50F to 60F for a period of 3 months (indoors or outdoors) temperature is by far the most important.
• Water very moderately to keep soil slightly moist during two months, than stop watering. The leaves may remain green, but may also gradually die; the death of the leaves is not a problem.

• After 3 months, move plant back to 70F to 80F, cut off the foliage and dry the top of the neck to prevent neck-rot.

• Do not water until new leaves and flower stems appear.

• After 8 to 10 weeks the amaryllis may flower again.

• Repeat these steps after every flower cycle.

The best location for am amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is where it can receive good, indirect daylight. For a good start (sprouting and rooting) amaryllises like temperatures between 20 and 25°C (68 to 77°F). In the early weeks prior to sprouting, it is ok to place the potted bulbs at a dark place if the temperature is within range. After leaf and flower stem(s) begin sprouting, a lower temperature can be beneficial as long as sufficient day light is available.

While insufficient lighting during the sprouting period will encourage taller than normal stems and leaves, an overly dry soil after rooting and sprouting reduces stem length before flowering. Amaryllis can bloom without water, however the flowers tend to be smaller. Bulb feeding while it is blooming is not needed.

Care should be taken not to over-water: after the first watering do not water again until growth is visible or the soil has become bone dry, and then only water sparingly until the flower bud starts showing color. Too much water can cause the bulb and it’s roots to rot as the young bulb has reduced absorption capabilities.

As the flower bud becomes more prominent, increase watering throughout the blooming period to keep soil moist.

Yes. Bulbs should be firm to the touch and greenish-white in color with thin brown outer layers like an onion. Nearly all bulbs for sale will be healthy, but watch for and reject any that are soft, have blue or greenish mold, look decayed or appear to be extremely dried out or in a state of decay.

Bulbs that have been stored for too long can even produce a flower spike or leaves even if kept dry. Take special care to inspect the top of the neck for brown spots as these are signs that the scales inside are rotten. Also check the bottom of the bulb between the roots; sometimes the bottom is colored brown and moldy, this is a sign that the bottom was affected with a bulb destroying fungus during the growth period.

There are several types amaryllis flowers according to the classification of the international amaryllis authority in Hillegom, The Netherlands. They are as follows:

• Galaxy single flowers (large, Ø >6”)
• Galaxy double flowers (large, Ø >6”)
• Diamond single flowers (medium, Ø 4”- 6”)
• Diamond double flowers (medium, Ø 4”- 6”)
• Kolibri single flowers (small, Ø <4”) • Kolibri double flowers (small, Ø <4”) • Spider (cybister) • Trumpet “Cybisters” have extremely thin petals and are often described as spider-like. “Trumpets”, as the name suggests, have flared, tube-shaped flowers. The large to small, single and double bulbs are typically sold by nurseries and other stores for the holidays in December, for Valentine's Day and even Easter. The lovely miniature "Papilio" (which is a species Hippeastrum, meaning this is not a cultivar or hybrid but the actual plant that grows in the wild) has a unique color and pattern with broad rose-burgundy center stripes and striations on pale green on the upper petals and narrow stripes on the bottom three. "Papilio" has been crossed with both cybister and single flower hippeastra to produce hybrids with unusual striping. Between 15 and 25 new Hippeastrum cultivars come on the market every year as another 10-15 are discontinued. Even though most stores and nurseries sell only a few of these, many others can be found for sale on the World Wide Web. As of December 2011 there were over 200 different cultivars plus many species hippeastra for sale at online stores and auctions listed under both "Hippeastrum" and "amaryllis." Newer and more exotic bulbs usually sell out the fastest.

The bulb is a store organ and the more bulb reserves an amaryllis (Hippeastrum) has the more flowers the plant can produce. In general only large amaryllis bulbs will produce more than one flower scape or spike but this (dependent on the cultivar) though, in some cases, some smaller bulbs can have two stems while some larger bulbs make only one.

A bulb must produce at least eight to twelve large, healthy leaves in the summer growing season before it can send up a scape the following year. Depending on the bulb treatment and bulb size after harvest, some bulbs can produce up to two flower scapes at the same time or they may wait several weeks between blooms. You will also find sometimes the second scape will have only two or three flowers rather than the usual four.

After a good bulb treatment and potting, leaves and flowers appear about the same time. Dependent on the temperature and treatment by the grower, bulbs can produce flowers first, then, after it has finished blooming, the plant will begin growing leaves. On the other hand it can happen that first only leaves appear and later the flowers.

The amaryllis is native to the tropical zone of South America, roughly between the two tropics.

The botanical name of amaryllis is “Hippeastrum” and is in Greek for “horseman’s star” (also known today as “knight’s star”). The name was chosen in 1837 by the Honorable Reverend William Herbert, Dean of Manchester.

No one is entirely sure why he picked this name although buds on the verge of opening do look something like a horse’s ear and clearly the blossoms do resemble six-pointed stars.

It seems likely however, as William Herbert was both a clergyman and something of an expert on early medieval history, that he chose the name because of the plants striking resemblance to the ‘morning star’, a medieval weapon used by horsemen. A version of the weapon was also called a ‘holy water sprinkler’, an ecclesiastical object the Dean would have been familiar with.

The first commercial breeders of amaryllis (Hippeastrum) were Dutch growers who imported several species from Mexico and South America and began developing cultivars and hybrids from them in the 18th century; the first of these reached North America early in the 19th century. In 1946 two Dutch growers moved to the Union of South Africa and began cultivation there.

Although most amarylisses come from the Dutch and South African sources, bulbs are now being developed and grown in the United States, Japan, Israel, India, Thailand, Brazil, Peru and Australia. The double flowers from Japan are particularly beautiful.

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is a flower bulb which is easy to grow at home for flower forcing.

Most amaryllis bulbs are between 2”-5″ in diameter and produce two to seven long-lasting evergreen or deciduous leaves that typically grow between 12″-“36″ long and 1.5” to 2″ wide. The flower stem is erect, 12″-30″ tall, 1″-2″ in diameter and is hollow. Depending on the species, the bulb can bear anywhere from two to fifteen large flowers, each of which is 4″-9″ across with six brightly colored petals (three outer sepals and three inner petals) that may be similar in appearance or very different.

The amaryllis bulb is tender and should not be exposed to frost, but is otherwise easy to grow, with large rewards for small efforts, especially those that bloom inside during the winter months. The very large, decorative flowers can also be grown outside in temperate areas.

After flowering, clip the dead flower off the stem, and let the foliage die off while maintaining water level. When the foliage has completed drying out, you may see new little bulbs beginning to form, leave these. Cut the foliage, and store the bulbs dry and as cool as possible until early November. Then plant them in your garden, using a good mix of soil and compost. Thoroughly water them at planting.

When and where to plant (in my zone) after flowering?

Zones 4 & 5 – September or early October
Zones 6 & 7 – October to early November
Zones 8 & 9 – November to early December
Zone 10 – Late December to early January

Refrigerate tulips bulbs for six to eight weeks before planting in zones 8 through 10, Place them in a paper bag away from ripening fruits (the fruits produce ethylene gas, which destroys the flower bud within the bulb).

Tulips grow best in full sun in well-prepared soil with fast drainage. Avoid planting where water collects, or in locations that are prone to late frosts.

Planting zone: Source

In the rare occasion the water gets cloudy, poor out the water while gently holding the tulips in place. Replace the water with fresh tap water. Repeat this process once more a day later.

At Bloomaker, we select the best varieties and use state of the art growing equipment in order to provide you flowers that last longer than tulips in soil, or even cut tulips.

The optimal environment is a room with a lot of natural light, at room temperature. However, the lower the temperature (above freezing), the longer the tulips will last.

Check your local grocery store or club store. Please see our “Find Us” tab for products available in your area.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to buy direct from us. Our company is wholesale only.

You could try this process; however, we use specially prepared bulbs from growers in the Netherlands to get good results. We cannot guarantee the bulbs will reproduce a second time in water alone.

Mold is a very common and natural occurrence on flower bulbs. The mold will not affect the growth of the plants. If it is bothersome, you can try to brush the mold off with a small hard brush.