Northern Shade Gardening

Enchanting Striped Squills

Tuesday, May 6, 2008 Category: Bulbs

The earliest bulbs to bloom in my garden are the tiny Puschkinia scilloides ‘libanotica’ (striped squills). Puschkinia libanotica ( striped squills )The flowers grow in a shady area on the northern side of my house. These bulbs are extremely hardy, and shrugged off being covered in snow after they had grown their full height. The buds of these plants went into suspended animation for a while when mostly covered in snow, but now they are are opening again. They are white with bright blue stripes going to the tip of each petal on the flower. The blossoms are in elongated clusters with multiple blooms. Ordinarily I’m not enthusiastic about striped flowers, but these subtle blooms are enchanting. The leaves are upright, thickened, slightly arched, and a rich green. This small bulb is altogether charming and well worth growing.Puschkinia libanotica \'Alba\' white striped squill

I enjoy this bulb, so I planted the all white version last fall, P. libanotica ‘Alba’. (white striped squill). It is a dainty little bulb with an identical leaf habit and similar flower clusters. They live up to their name, since ‘Alba’ refers to a white flower, but while the flowers are pretty, they lose some of the charm that the blue stripes give to the other version. You can see a photo of the white striped squills that tried to bloom in April. That snowy photo shows you their hardy nature.

One benefit to these small bulbs is that their foliage dies back quickly, so they don’t look messy for long after they’ve flowered and they make room for the next round of flowers. Both of these are hardy bulbs for a cold climate, that tolerate some shade. They are early risers, so they extend the season, and give you something to look forward to after a long winter.

Here is some more information about some other blue flowering spring bulbs.

Which Puschkinia do you prefer?

10 Responses to “Enchanting Striped Squills” »

  1. Lisa at Greenbow :
    May 7, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    I don’t have any squills in my garden. I must remedy this. They are beauties.

  2. Northern Shade :
    May 7, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    I heartily recommend both of these varieties, Lisa. The first one is my favourite, but if you didn’t want to have any blue in your colour scheme, then I’d suggest the ‘Alba’.

  3. kerri :
    May 8, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Your striped sqills are very delicate and pretty. I only have the blue squill (scilla siberica) which I love. I must look for the blue striped ones.
    The scilla are very easy care, aren’t they, and yes, it’s nice the way their foliage disappears quickly.

  4. Northern Shade :
    May 8, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Kerri, I have the Scilla siberica too. Their buds have formed, but they are not open yet. I love the small early blue bulbs. The Muscari and Chionodoxa should be adding to the blue theme soon.

  5. Linda Lunda :
    May 8, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    I do love this to. The flower is so beautiful with the blue stripe.
    I´m glad you visit my blogg!!!!! I hope you want to come back.
    Have a nice day.
    Linda

  6. Northern Shade :
    May 9, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Welcome, Linda. I enjoyed your site. I’m waiting for the other bulbs to open fully so I can take some photos of them.

  7. Helen :
    May 10, 2008 at 7:16 am

    I dont have any of these either so will put them on my want list for the autumn

  8. Northern Shade :
    May 10, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Hi, Helen. It is such an act of gardening faith to plant the little brown lumps in the fall and wait all winter. No matter how many times I plant bulbs, I’m always so pleasantly surprised and delighted by the beauty in the spring.

  9. Pomona :
    June 18, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks for these pictures and descriptions of squill. You make them seem much more enticing than the bulb catalogues, and I didn’t know they were early-early–it’s always so exciting to have really early flowers that come out in snow and cold.

  10. Northern Shade :
    June 18, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Pomona, you’re welcome. The little bulbs look especially nice when planted close to your door, so you can see them up close. They also look nice in large masses in the distance. They get a little lost, though, if they’re in small groups in the middle of a big border.
    I really like to extend the season with the very early bloomers. For such delicate looking flowers, they are surprisingly resilient.

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