The scilla family of spring-blooming bulbs includes some of the best bulbs for naturalizing. When planted beneath shrubs and shade trees, in woodlands and beside streams and ponds, they will multiply quickly and produce waves of color year after year. Siberian squill (S. siberica) and wood hyacinths (S. campanulata) are two of the most popular types of scilla. Quick to plant and untroubled by rodents or deer, they are an easy way to add a new dimension of spring beauty to your gardens and landscapes.
STEP 1 - KNOW
START WITH A BETTER BULB
When you compare two scilla bulbs side by side, it’s easy to see differences in quality. Larger bulbs (as shown below) contain more stored food energy to support a stronger plant and more abundant flowers. Longfield Gardens supplies 7/8 cm Siberian squill bulbs and 6/7 wood hyacinth bulbs so you can enjoy the biggest, brightest blooms.
STEP 2 - PLAN
SUN & SHADE: Scilla bloom best when they are grown in full sun, but they can also be grown in partial shade.
ZONE: Scilla are winter hardy in zones 4-8. Find your growing zone HERE.
WHEN TO PLANT: Plant scilla bulbs in fall, once the weather has cooled down and before the ground freezes.
WHERE TO PLANT SCILLA
SCILLA SIBERICA: The cobalt blue blossoms of Scilla siberica, also known as Siberian squill or spring beauty, are one of nature's purest blues. Each bulb produces multiple stems, topped with several dainty blue flowers that resemble little parasols.
At just 4” tall, scilla siberica makes its impact with quantity, not size. The plants multiply in two ways: by seed and by bulb offsets. Over time, a few handfuls of bulbs can become a carpet of beautiful blue flowers.
Scilla siberica blooms early -- at about the same time as crocuses and early daffodils. The plant's foliage fades away quickly after flowering, so it's a good choice for planting in lawns or landscaped areas.
SCILLA CAMPANULATA: This bulb is a close relative of scilla siberica, but its foliage and flowers are considerably larger. It is also known as wood hyacinth, Spanish bluebells, and hyacinthoides hispanica. Scilla campanulata's flowers closely resemble Hyacinthoides non-scripta, which is the fragrant wild bluebell that carpets woodlands in England.
Scilla campanulata has strappy foliage and bell-shaped flowers that are loosely clustered around a 12-15" stem. The pastel-colored blossoms come in lavender, pink and white. Scilla campanulata flowers in late spring and is a good naturalizer for woodlands or meadows. After flowering, the foliage typically takes about a month to die back. Ferns, astilbes or hostas can be used to help to hide the withering leaves.
Scilla siberica and scilla campanulata are not fussy about soil, but they perform best when it is well drained and fertile. Scilla will not grow in deep shade. Plant them in full sun, partial shade or the light shade beneath deciduous trees. Because both of these bulbs multiply, they should be planted in places where they won’t compete with native wildflowers or other perennials. For best effect, plant in groups of 25 or more bulbs. Fortunately, rabbits, chipmunks, voles, and deer rarely bother the bulbs or the flowers.
STEP 3 - GROW
PLANTING IS AS EASY 1-2-3
1. Loosen the soil
2. Plant bulbs 3 to 4" apart and 3" to 4" deep
3. Cover the bulbs with soil and water as needed
GROWING TIPS FOR SCILLA
The bulbs of scilla siberica and scilla campanulata are small and don't need to be planted very deeply, so it's easy to plant lots of bulbs in just a few minutes. For the most natural look, plant the bulbs in clusters of 10 with no more than a couple inches between them.
Because scilla siberica blooms so early, it grows well beneath shrubs, at the base of trees or even right in the lawn. For a natural look, dig up a small area, toss in a few bulbs and cover them up again. Scillas mix well with other spring bulbs, so consider combining them with crocus, snowdrops, chionodoxa, and daffodils.
STEP 4 - AFTERCARE
CARING FOR SCILLA AFTER THEY BLOOM
Like other spring-blooming bulbs, scilla are dormant during the summer months. After they flower, it is important to let the foliage grow until it yellows and fades away. Bulbs need their foliage to generate energy for developing next year’s flowers.
For scilla siberica, the foliage usually fades away within a week or two after flowering. The foliage of scilla campanulata may take a month or more to mature. The yellowing leaves can be hidden by neighboring foliage. Once the leaves are dry, they can be cleared away or just left in place.