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 should be grown in full sun or partial shade. They will not flower 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, but they perform best in soil that is well drained and fertile.
Scillas are good companions for other spring bulbs including crocus, snowdrops, chionodoxa and daffodils. The bulbs will multiply over time, so plant them in places where you'll be happy to have them spread.
Scilla siberica: Scilla siberica is also known as Siberian squill and spring beauty. Each bulb sends up multiple stems topped with dainty blue flowers that resemble little parasols. These cobalt blue blossoms provide one of nature's purest blues. At just 4” tall, the flowers make their impact with quantity, not size. Scilla siberica blooms early (at the same time as crocuses and early daffodils) and the foliage fades away quickly after flowering. This makes them a good choice for planting beneath shrubs, at the base of trees or even right in the lawn.
Shop for Scilla siberica HERE.
Scilla campanulata: This bulb is a close relative of scilla siberica, but the foliage and flowers are considerably larger. 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 blooms in late spring and is a good naturalizer for woodlands and meadows.
Scilla campanulata is also known as wood hyacinth, Spanish bluebells and hyacinthoides hispanica. The flowers resemble Hyacinthoides non-scripta, which is the fragrant wild bluebell that carpets woodlands in England.
Shop for 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.
Scilla bulbs are planted during the fall so they can grow roots before winter. In early spring, the bulbs sprout and begin blooming within just a couple weeks.
Scilla bulbs multiply in two ways: by seed and by bulb offsets. The seeds are often transported by ants and show up in expected places. Over time, a few handfuls of bulbs can grow into a carpet of beautiful blooms.
If your garden is plagued by rabbits, chipmunks, voles or deer, you'll be happy to know that these pests usually ignore scilla bulbs and flowers.
Bulbs use their foliage to generate energy for next year’s flowers. After your scilla have finished flowering, it is important to let the foliage continue growing until it has lost its green color and fades away. Once the foliage is gone, the bulbs will stay dormant underground until they begin growing again the following spring.
The foliage of scilla siberica usually matures and fades away within a couple weeks. 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: