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Muscari, bulbous plants among the easiest to cultivate, some species even find them spontaneously spread throughout our territory, a great convenience. This simplicity in obtaining it, should not lead us to underestimate the beauty of this plant, also loved because, occupying little place and at its best, thanks to beautiful flowers, it can be buried among shrubs, trees or other plants, providing them with cheerful colors.
Muscari: the plant
With the name of Muscari we indicate a genus to which some species of bulbous plants all of modest size and all or almost all widespread in Europe, including Italy, and in Asia. In recent decades, other hybridized species have also been added, expanding the offer with possibilities such as obtaining double or particularly colored flowers. Or simply white. The "basic" and most common color of Muscari is and remains blue, therefore, but if we want some lilac, violet and yellow we will be satisfied.
There flowering of muscari takes place in spring, but some want to forge ahead and start to look beautiful even in February, while others arrive late, in June. It depends on the species we have chosen, but in all cases the flowers are small, gathered in thin compact ears, with an oblong or globose perigonium.
As for the coloring, purplish blue or white, they are the most common but it is a plant that loves to surprise us. Its name "Muscari" is linked to a property of the flower which, however, does not concern our chromatic sensitivity, but rather our sense of smell: C. Clusius named it in honor of delicate scent that the flowers emanate, very similar to that of the moss. It is not found in all varieties, but by extension, the name embraces the whole genus.
It is easy to grow, I confirm what is written in the introduction, and I will tell you more: small tricks make the Muscari also very resistant to climates that are not particularly easy to bear. It is important that they are placed in a good soil, not necessarily rich but absolutely well drained.
When we bury the bulbs, as small as they are, we can spacing them a few centimeters, as long as they are in one sunny position because the less sun the Muscari receive, the less flowers they will give us back. Rustic bulbous in name and in fact, these plants easily withstand the winter cold and the summer heat, as the years pass they become wild but continue to bloom in all their beauty and with the utmost dignity.
Small but resistant, the bulbs of the Muscari already in autumn they produce ribbon-shaped leaves with a fleshy texture and a bright green color. Gathered in clumps, they make room for flowers in spring, but let's go back to the bulbs. Planted in autumn and left in the ground until the following year, just spring peeps out they begin to bloom without expecting too much watering.
After flowering, spring / summer, towards the end of August the leaves become dry and the bulbs begin to go into rest vegetative. If we want to optimize the cultivation of Muscari making it with zero waste, during the summer we extract the small bulbs from the ground, let them dry in the sun and store them in a cool, dark and dry place and then replenish them in autumn, starting the cycle again.
The best known species of Muscari is that said Armeniacum, widely sold in Italy too, many more than any other of the over sixty existing ones. What characterizes this variety of bulbous is the scent of flowers and their lifespan. I'm from deep blue color like most Muscari flowers which in Italy are often called by more friendly names like Pian del Cucco or Pentolino or Muschino.
We are not the only ones to have renamed the Muscari more confidentially, even in England there are several nicknames, the most famous being Grape Hyacinth, which means grape hyacinth due to the morphology of its flowers similar to grapes and to wild hyacinths.
We find them almost everywhere in Italy, even in uncultivated meadows or on the roadsides. All the Blue Muscari they have thin arched leaves, a stem of about 30 cm with a panicle on top composed of blue "bells".
Is very important DO NOT confuse Blue Muscari bulbs with Lampascioni bulbs (scientific name Leopoldia Comosa) , which may have a similar appearance and which, especially in some of our southern regions and in particular in Puglia, end up in a pan cooked stewed, or boiled in water and vinegar to be preserved in oil, often flavored with thyme and chilli.
The distinction is very important as the bulbs of the Blue Muscari are NOT edible and could cause serious poisoning.
Muscari in pots
Thanks to its small size, the bulbit can also be well grown in pots and reaches a maximum height of 25 cm. Unlike when we bury it, the bulb requires some special attention but nothing too pretentious and difficult. For example they should be watered more often and fed with fertilizer, the one for flowering plants is fine for our potted bulbs,
Muscari: where to buy the seeds and price
Not all bulbous plants promise an excellent result with little effort, so it is an opportunity not to be missed especially because a bag of seeds of Muscari costs less than 4 euros. The color is magnificent, we can spread it in the garden and continue to use the bulbs year after year.
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