Scilla Siberica Beautiful Blue Squills

Scilla siberica (squills) blue flowers
Scilla siberica (squills) blue flowers

Scilla siberica (Siberian squills) bring a true blue colour to the spring garden. Each plant is small, but each year as the patch fills in, the flowers make a better show. These bulbs are hardy, even in a cold climate, and tolerate a fair amount of shade.

Scilla siberica (squills) buds
Scilla siberica (squills) buds

Here are the buds a few days before the flowers open. These Scilla siberica bulbs are planted in a very shady spot, on the north side of my house. They get maybe half an hour of sunlight a day, but they do fairly well and are filling in. In the above photo they are enjoying their sunbath, while they can.

Scilla siberica (squills) May 24
Scilla siberica (squills) May 24

You can see by the cones and needles on the ground, that these are located next to a spruce and pine. They have done well, despite the competition.

A plant with ‘siberica’ in the name always warms my heart. They probably won’t object too much at being exiled to zone 3. Some of these bulbs are Scilla siberica  ‘Spring Beauty’ and some are an unnamed Scilla siberica. The two groups were next to each other, and now they are one large group. I don’t notice much difference between them now, and I’m not sure which type the new plants in between are.

As with most of the smaller bulbs, the Siberian squill foliage dies back fairly quickly after the blooms fade, so the withering leaves do not look messy for long. The surrounding shrubs and perennials will fill out, and take their place. The Annabelle hydrangea to the side of these bulbs is just starting to leaf out now, so they make a good combination, time sharing the space. In the photo below, the Scilla are decorating the bare Hydrangea stems.

Scilla siberica and hydrangea stems
Scilla siberica and hydrangea stems

The Scilla have  a resemblance to Chionodoxa, which I wrote about last year. They bloom at the same time as the Chionodoxa, just after the Puschkinia, another related bulb. I have one group of Scilla planted with Chionodoxa luciliae ‘Alba‘ (white glory of the snow). In the above photo, you can see the stripe down the middle of each petal, like the Puschkinia (striped squills) flowers. The Muscari continue the blue flower show afterwards. They are all members of the ‘cute little blue bulb’ family.

Scilla siberica (squills) group
Scilla siberica (squills) group

Scilla siberica are not one of the flashy spring bulb, but they have their own quiet charm. They look dainty in the garden, or in a woodland setting. The sky blue flowers combine beautifully with other spring beauties. They need to be spaced close together to have an impact, but if they like the spot they will fill in.

21 thoughts on “Scilla Siberica Beautiful Blue Squills”

  1. Hi Northern Shade: I put in Siberian Squill, both ‘Spring Beauty’ and an unnamed variety last Fall and I can’t tell the difference between them either. The intense blue is nice, but on the whole, I think I prefer Chinodoxa, including the ‘Alba’ and ‘Pink Giant’ varieties, for their more cheery, upward-facing blooms (and variety of colour – although none so intense as the Scilla). I do tend to scatter my bulbs around, though, so maybe I should try a compact mass planting. Since yours are doing well in the shade, I should have a spot.

    On a visit to my wife’s mom on Vancouver Island and as well as a heat wave (so nice after this Edmonton Spring) I was surprised to find a mass planting of a Helleborus in full sun at the base of some monstrous new condominium complex going up on the Nanaimo water front. The remaining flowers looked pretty sad and I wonder how the plants will hold up.

    1. Dave, I like the upward facing Chionodoxa flowers too, but my Chionodoxa in the front shady area did not do as well this year. There are fewer in that area. I’m not sure if this is due to the lower light level, moisture level or another reason. The back semi-shade group of newer Chionodoxa flowered well.

      Helen, my seasons do get squished into a shorter time frame. I was happy to have the Scilla spread in the shady area, near the evergreens.

      Martyn, the little bulbs are so easy to underplant around shrubs, or around later perennials. I like the early blooms too.

      Joanne, my Hydrangea are being slow pokes this spring. Their bottom leaves are just coming out. I was looking at them today, hoping that they don’t have any die back.

  2. Very nice to see something so sweet do so well in such a shady site.

    I do think I want to dedicate an area somewhere in my garden to blues. They are both fresh and restful looking.

    1. The Garden Ms. S, I like the look of blue flowers with silver leaves, or a bit of white. I have some white Chionodoxa next to some blue flowered Brunnera that I like.

  3. I do like the intense blue colour – which makes up for the annoying way the foliage comes up and starts overwhelming the flowers. They do look better in a bigger clump where the flowers stand out more.

    1. Easygardener, my two groups are forming a larger sheet now, in the bare areas, which I like. I like the way the foliage dies back quicker than the larger bulbs, making room for round 2 of the flower parade.

  4. What a sweet reminder of spring! I am missing it right now! These little bulbs are among my favorites and you can’t beat the blue…gail

    1. Gail, I like the closeup where you can see the dashing little darker blue stripes on the petals. I have fewer of the Chionodoxa behind this group this year, so I might just let the Scilla sort themselves out and fill in that area, if they like it.

  5. Hi NS, wow…our scillas, muscari, etc. were all back in April! It is quite a difference in our gardening seasons, isn’t it?! I really need to stop over here more often because I have a lot of shade and I know you have some wonderful info. to share. I keep forgetting to check those pages where you list some plants that like shade. I’ll try at some point, soon;-P Happy Summer!! Jan

    1. Jan, the other spring bulbs are faded now, but the Muscari are still going strong. The Blue Spike produced a good number of blooms, and they have continued to open.

    1. June, I purchased my striped squills in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada at some of the local greenhouses. Fraser’s Thimble Farms ships them across Canada in the fall. They have some on this bulb page listed under their scientific name of Puschkinia libanotica. I’ve ordered bulbs from them in the fall before.

  6. I have a large patch of siberian squill in my zone 5 Ohio garden. I have collected the seeds and am wondering when I should sow them. Scatter them when they are fully ripe? Wait till fall?

    1. Tom, my Scilla groups have increased naturally through self seeding and through new bulblets. I haven’t actually collected the seed, but I think scattering them if they are ripe should work well.

  7. Hi, it’s a year since the last comment about collecting and scattering seeds, and I’m wondering if you have any new info about this – I just cleaned up the yellow foliage and have many seed pods full of little white seeds (or are they baby bulbs?) Just curious if I can get some in another part of the garden.

    1. Jo, mine seem to spread out through self seeding, as there is slender foliage next to the patch, which might flower in the next year or so. If the seed is ripe, you could plant them where you would like a new patch. They also produce small new bulbs underground at the edge of the original bulb. Good luck with the seeding.

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