Hyacinth are great. They smell nice and are a favorite in springtime gardens. Grape Hyacinth (Muscari), while also wonderful, are not Hyacinth, though they share much in common. Don’t let their deceptively similar names throw you off, these are two entirely different (but equally lovable) plants. Time to learn the difference!
There’s a reason these two are often confused. Both are perennials (come back every year) that grow from bulbs and bloom in spring. They are both relatively short and make great ornamental garden plants. If they were family you could even call these two genus cousins – but never twins!
- Produces sweet smelling blooms
- Flower racemes are trumpet-shaped
- Come in a wide range of colors such as red, blue, white, orange, pink, violet and even yellow
Along with the traits listed above, Hyacinths also have a unique history. According to ancient Greek mythology, these flowers came into being after the tragic death of a beautiful young hero named Hyacinth. Instead of letting Hades, god of the underworld, have the soul of the slain hero, the sun god Apollo turned his spilled blood into flowers. The lovely flowers would die at the end of each season but return renewed every spring, and in this small way the god had granted the hero one final gift: the gift of immortality.
- Blooms are ovoid and tightly clustered like grapes (hence the name)
- Flowers are unscented
- They naturalize (multiply) quickly in the landscape
- Bloom earliest of any spring flower
- Blue to violet is the most common color