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.
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.
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.
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 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.