Grape Hyacinths - Knowledgebase Question

Cedar Lake, IN
Avatar for HarrEgreen
Question by HarrEgreen
October 5, 1998
It's not really a problem but I was very curious why the grape hyacinths start coming up in late summer with leaves only and grow till hard frost. None of the other spring bulbs, not even other hyacinths, do this. Our little hyacinths are so thick it looks funny like grass growing. Can you explain why they do this?

Answer from NGA
October 5, 1998
I really can't say "why" something like this happens. It's likely some kind of adaptation, probably to allow the plants to photosynthesize and build up food reserves in their bulbs in the fall, so they have the energy to flower in the spring. It is interesting, isn't it?

Grape hyacinths are related to other hyacinths, but they belong to a different genus, Muscari. This might explain why they behave a little differently from their cousins. They do offer a welcome sight after a long winter!

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