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 multiply quickly and will give you 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 landscape.
When you compare two scilla bulbs side by side, it’s easy to see differences in quality. Larger bulbs (as shown on the far left) contain more stored food energy and can support a stronger plant and more abundant flowers. Longfield Gardens supplies 7/8cm Siberian squill bulbs and 6/7cm wood hyacinth bulbs so you can get the biggest, brightest blooms.
Sun or Shade: Scilla bloom best when they are grown in full sun, but they can also be grown in partial shade. Scilla will not grow in deep shade.
Hardiness Zone: Scilla are winter hardy in zones 4-8. Find your growing zone here.
Soil Conditions: Scilla siberica and scilla campanulata are not fussy about soil, but they perform best in soil that's well drained and fertile.
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 grow into 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.
Shop for Scilla siberica HERE.
Scilla campanulata: This bulb (shown at left) is a close relative of scilla siberica, but both the foliage and flowers are considerably larger. Scilla campanulata is also known as wood hyacinth, Spanish bluebells and hyacinthoides hispanica. The flowers also 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 and meadows.
Shop foe Scilla campanulata HERE.
When to Plant: Scilla bulbs should be planted in mid to late fall, any time after the first frost and before the ground freezes. For best results, plant the bulbs within a month after you receive them.
Depth and Spacing: Plant scilla bulbs 3 to 4” deep and 3 to 4” apart on center.
Planting Tips: The bulbs of scilla siberica and scilla campanulata 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 each bulb.
Because scilla siberica blooms so early, it's a good bulb for planting 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. Scilla also mix well with other spring bulbs, so consider combining them with crocus, snowdrops, chionodoxa and daffodils.
Because all scilla will multiply, they should be planted in places where they won’t compete with native wildflowers or other perennials.
If you struggle with rabbits, chipmunks, voles or deer, you'll appreciate that they usually ignore scilla bulbs and flowers.
When scilla has finished flowering, it is important to let the foliage continue growing until it has lost its green color and fades away. Bulbs use their foliage to generate energy for next year’s flowers. Once the foliage is gone, the bulbs will stay dormant underground until they begin growing again the next spring
The foliage of scilla siberica usually fades away within a couple weeks after flowering. The foliage of scilla campanulata may take a month or more to mature. Ferns, astilbes or hostas can be used to help to hide the slowly withering leaves.
If you want to learn more about scilla and other early spring flowers, you may be interested in: