How To Plant and Grow Scilla Flowers
The bulbous perennial Scilla is a member of the asparagus family. Some time ago, however, the plant was considered a lily or hyacinth family member. It is often mistaken for snowdrops. This genus includes about 90 different species of plants. Under natural conditions, they can be found in Africa, Asia, and Europe, and they prefer to grow in plains and mountain meadows. It takes its name from the Greek word for the sea onion, "skilla", because it is a member of this genus. This plant is highly resistant to frost and disease and is also very beautiful and able to adapt quickly to all environmental conditions.
Planting Scilla in the Open Air
Planting and growing scilla is easy. They are commonly used to decorate borders, rockeries, alpine beds, and mixed gardens. The beautiful scilla flowers in early spring also look beautiful in the root zones of garden trees. You can even plant it in flowering time. However, experts recommend transplanting spring-flowering Scillas after the leaves have died (from mid-June) and spring-flowering ones 4 weeks before the stems form. These flowers prefer a well-lit area but can also be cultivated in a shaded location. Note, however, that autumn-flowering species are not as light-loving as spring-flowering ones.
Before planting the scilla directly, it is necessary to prepare the site. It will grow best in soil with plenty of organic matter, minerals, and hummus. For the flowers to thrive, it is advisable to mix garden soil with forest soil containing semi-decomposed tree bark and leaves.
A distance of 5 to 10 centimeters should be maintained between the planting holes. The bulbs should be buried 6 to 8 centimeters into the soil (depending on the size of the planting material).
Caring for Scilla in the Garden
The scilla is very easy to care for. For this flower to grow normally, it should be watered as necessary, and afterward, the soil should be loosened to a depth of 20-25 mm and weeded. Watering is recommended in the morning, and care should be taken to avoid getting any liquid on the surface of the flowers, as this can seriously spoil their appearance. To reduce the weeding and to water significantly, mulch (deciduous mulch) should be placed over the area where the scilla is growing.
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Spring-flowering primary fertilizers such as Nitrophoska should be given at the start of spring, and flowering will be much more profuse. Autumn fertilization for autumn-flowering species is recommended. Micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and copper are best added to the compound fertilizer.
Remember that these plants propagate very well by self-sowing. If you want to avoid removing unwanted scillas from the area regularly, then you should cut off the wilting flowers, trying to do so before the seedlings appear.
This plant's average growth and development should be systematically replanted once every 3 years to maintain its high ornamental quality. Once the shrub has been dug up, separate the offspring from the bulb and replant it as soon as possible to prevent the bulbs from becoming rotten. Replanting should be done in the last days of September or early October.
Scilla is propagated using seeds and bulbs. The seeds must be collected first to produce such a flower from the source. Around the last days of June, the seed boxes should turn yellow and begin to crack. Collect these capsules and empty them into seed pods, which will then be sown into the loose soil. These seeds have a relatively low germination rate, and the seedlings will flower when they are about 3 or 4 years old. The first planting of these plants will only occur at least 5 years later, when they will have many offspring, and the number of flower stems will increase.
Scilla Species and Varieties
As mentioned above, there are many species of scilla, and gardeners successfully cultivate most. Therefore, only the most popular ones will be described below, along with the names of the most popular cultivars.
- Scilla hispanica
It is native to Spain, southern France, and Portugal. It prefers to grow in meadows and forests.It is regarded as one of the most successful ones. The shrub can reach a height of 0.2 to 0.3 meters. The solitary stems carry upright inflorescences in clusters of 5-10 bell-shaped flowers, which grow to 20 mm in diameter and are colored pink, blue, or white. Flowering starts in the last days of May and lasts about half a month. If the bulbs remain outdoors for the winter, they will need to be covered. Popular cultivars:
1. Rose Queen. The flower stalks are about 0.2 m tall and hold pink flowers with a lilac tinge and a very faint scent.
2. Sky Blue. Spiralling, very sturdy flower stalks hold large, blue-colored flowers with a streak of blue.
3. La Grandes. The inflorescences include 15 white flowers each.
4. Rosabella. The flower stalks are about 0.3 m tall and hold dense inflorescences of pinkish-mauve, fragrant flowers. Their scent becomes much more robust in the evening.
- Scilla bifolia
Under natural conditions, the species can be found in Crimea, the Caucasus, the Mediterranean, and the European part of Russia. It is considered the most stunted and lushly flowering species. The height of the shrub usually is at most 0.15 m. It has 1-3 flower stalks, and each flower has inflorescences consisting of pink or white flowers, which are aromatic but fairly pleasantly scented. Each inflorescence contains up to 15 flowers. It has only 2 broadly shaped leaf laminae, about 0.2m long. Flowering begins in mid-April and lasts approximately half a month. It has been cultivated since 1568.
- Scilla autumnalis
Under natural conditions, this plant can be found in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Asia Minor. A single flowering shrub may produce up to 5 flower arrows, ranging in height from 0.15 to 0.2 m. The arrows have non-shaped racemes, which grow in loosely packed stems. They bear loose racemes with 6 to 20 small, light lilac or violet-red flowers—blossoms in the last days of July or the first few days of August. The linear grooved narrow leaves are approximately 0.25m long. Cultivated since 1597.
- Scilla peruviana
This species is native to the western Mediterranean. The shrub produces 2 or 3 flower arrows reaching 0.35 m in height. They bear dense, conical inflorescences consisting of small, deep blue flowers (less than 10 mm in diameter). A single inflorescence may contain a maximum of 80 flowers. The linear leaflets are about 30 centimeters long and up to half a centimeter wide.
- Scilla sibirica
The name of this species is erroneous because it is not found in Siberia. Under natural conditions, this flower can be found in the Caucasus, Crimea, the European part of Russia, Central, and Southern Europe. The flowers are blue and grow simultaneously with the leaves. The flowers contain nectar. This species has a peculiarity in that it opens its flowers at 10 a.m. and closes at 4 or 5 p.m. if the weather is cloudy, they may not open.
Caring for Scilla in the Home
Location and Lighting
Scylla adores bright light but should be shaded from direct sun during the summer months to prevent it from getting sunburned.
During the hot season, the optimum temperature regime for the Scylla is 22-25 degrees. From October, it is gradually reduced, bringing the winter figures to 10-12 degrees – if they are higher, the flower will stretch firmly.
The indoor beauty is well adapted to low humidity, so there is no need to spray it. From time to time, it is necessary to wipe the leaves so that the dust does not accumulate.
During the hot period, the flower requires moderate watering. Otherwise, the bulbs and roots will rot. In winter, the amount of moisture is further reduced, but do not allow the leaves drop. It is best to let the water stand at room temperature.
The soil composition should be loose and breathable. Use a mixture of humus and leaf soil – 1:2. A ready-made succulent substrate can be provided.
During active growth, fertilize the Scilla with succulent compounds twice a month. In early autumn, reduce the amount of fertilizer, and in the winter months, stop it altogether.
Scilla is a bulbous perennial common in the temperate zone of Asia, Europe, and central and southern Africa. It is a member of the lily family, rich in plants with excellent ornamental qualities. Scilla is one of these. The winter-hardy varieties decorate outdoor beds and bunting, but some non-frost-hardy species can be grown at home.
What is the right way to plant scilla transplants?
Plant the scilla at a distance of 4-6 cm and the same depth. Spring-flowering species can be planted in the second half of June/early July after the leaves have fallen off. Scilla siberica is most often found in gardens.
How do I care for scilla?
Care for the scilla consists of watering, loosening the soil to a depth of 2-2.5 cm, and removingweeds. It is best to water the scilla in the morning and avoid getting water on the flowers – this makes them less ornamental.
When to transplant Scilla?
To transplant the scilla, dig up the whole plant and separate the baby bulbs. The ideal transplanting time is late September or early October. And remember: The detached bulbs need to be planted immediately into the soil. Otherwise, they will start to rot.