Scilla and Chionodoxa Bulbs in Part Shade

Chionodoxa and Scilla siberica collageScilla (squills) and Chionodoxa (glory of the snow) are two of my favourite spring flowering bulbs. Since they bloom right after the crocus, they keep the bulb show going so I don’t have a bare time in the garden before most plants start to flower. Both of them do well in part shade, growing under the trees. These bulbs are very cold hardy, and have no problem with a zone 3 winter. The white Chionodoxa luciliae ‘Alba’ and blue Scilla siberica were in this garden section before, but I added the purplish blue Chionodoxa fobesii last fall.

Chionodoxa forbesii with purple blue flowers
Chionodoxa forbesii with purple blue flowers

I have a number of the Chionodoxa forbesii (glory of the snow) in other parts of the garden, but I added them to this area to combine with the other small spring bulbs. They have beautiful purple blue flowers with five petals that face upwards to make a showy display. The inner base of each flower lightens to almost white, while there is a line of deeply saturated colour down the centre of each petal. The petal tips curl back slightly.

Chionodoxa forbesii and 'Alba'
Chionodoxa forbesii and ‘Alba’

I especially like the way the white Chionodoxa mix with the more colourful Chionodoxa to highlight the pretty colour. They are like twinkling lights against the remains of the fall leaves.

Chionodoxa 'Alba' white flower bulbs
Chionodoxa ‘Alba’ white flower bulbs

Chionodoxa luciliae ‘Alba’ are an all white version of glory of the snow. The light colour shows up extra well in the shadowy areas. This group of ‘Alba’ are growing on the other side of the willow next to some Puschkinia (striped squills) bulbs and pair well with the blue and white striped flowers.

Chionodoxa 'Alba' white flowers
Chionodoxa ‘Alba’ white flowers

These ‘Alba’ are in front of a Dryopteris fern that is mostly evergreen. You can see one of the fronds from last year at the top of the photo. Chionodoxa work well informally under the deciduous trees, mixed with ferns and tree detritus. As the ferns grow, the green strap-like foliage of the Chionodoxa will be covered up, so it won’t be so noticeable as it dies back for the summer.

spring bulbs Chionodoxa and Scilla siberica growing through fall leaves
spring bulbs Chionodoxa and Scilla siberica growing through fall leaves

Chionodoxa mix beautifully with the related Scilla that at the top of the picture. The colourful Chionodoxa used to be my favourite, but now I appreciate having some white ones mixed with them. You can see how the white ones add a little sparkle to brighten up the display. They catch your eye more and set off the pretty colour of the purplish blue Chionodoxa.

blue Scilla siberica with Chionodoxa forbesii and 'Alba' in front
blue Scilla siberica with Chionodoxa forbesii and ‘Alba’ in front

The Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’ (squills) at the top of this picture have a true blue colour. The Scilla flowers have a darker line running down the middle of each petal. The squill flowers face downwards, and because of this they are less noticeable than the Chionodoxa, but they make up for that with their wonderful colour.

Chionodoxa and Scilla siberica flowers
Chionodoxa and Scilla siberica flowers

This photo shows the difference in flower habits, with the Chionodoxa blooms at the front pointing upwards, and the Scilla at the back facing downwards.

Chionodoxa in purple and white
Chionodoxa in purple and white

Here are the glory of the snow bulbs mixing it up in the leaves under the trees. On their own the Chionodoxa seem blue, but planted next to the real blue squills they appear purple.

glory of the snow and squill flowers
glory of the snow and squill flowers

This closeup of the two colours of starry Chionodoxa flowers twinkling together.

spring bulbs in dappled light under tree
spring bulbs in dappled light under tree

These bulbs are planted under a willow tree, so the plants get a medium amount of light in spring before the tree fully leafs out. Even so, you can see that the branches cast dappled light on the bulbs, which handle the part shade just fine.

blue white and purple spring bulbs
blue white and purple spring bulbs

I’m glad I mixed the Chionodoxa colours next to each other to enliven the display. Along with the blue Scilla siberica, they make a nice trio.



13 thoughts on “Scilla and Chionodoxa Bulbs in Part Shade”

    1. Mariana, I really like these colours together, and the blue and white striped Puschkinia as well.

      Marit, I like them mixed, too. I have some of the blue Chionodoxa and the Scilla in my front garden together where it is even shadier on the north side of my house.

  1. I love scilla and chionodoxa together. White and blue flowers are so beautiful. You have taken so many wonderful pictures. The spring flowers are soon gone away here. I am glad I can see yours a bit longer.

    1. Debsgarden,the sweet little bulbs are very photogenic.

      Rose,I haven’t tried the pink Chionodoxa, but I could see that they would make good companions to many of the bulbs that bloom at the same time.

  2. Heavenly blues! The combination of different chionodoxa and Scilla look so lovely together. I planted my first Scilla last fall, and just love them. Besides the blue, I also planted some pink ones, but they never came up. Not sure why, but the blue ones are my favorite anyway.

    1. Anna, I like the pretty colour combination in the shade to brighten up the shadowy areas.

      Tistou, your blue and white border mixed with ornamental grasses sounds great. The little bulbs do seem to do well under a variety of conditions. I appreciate the hardiness of the bulbs, and the way they can adapt to different areas of the garden. The bloom cycle does get a late start here with our longer winters, and this year it was later than ever.

  3. Blue and white go so well together. It is one of my favorite combinations. I plan to make a border with ornamental grasses mixed with some white and blue flowers. Should be great!
    Scillas and Glory of the Snows are wonderful Spring bulbs. It is so funny how you have them a month later in your zone 3 compared to us in Estonia (zone 5-6).And we are about 2 months behind from England for instance (zone 7-9). However, these bulbs thrive well everywhere.

  4. Hi Northern Shade..
    what a variety of astilbe, beautiful to look at .. the blue Stenenblümchen, I like very much ..
    well wish you much joy in your garden ..

    Greetings from the Rhineland send you Waltraud

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