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Scilla bifolia

Bulbs and bulblike plants, Perennials


The hardier species are native to cold-winter regions of Europe and Asia, where they bloom with winter aconite (Eranthis) and snowdrop (Galanthus). Peruvian scilla (S. peruviana), a Mediterranean native, is more tender (and showy). All squills have bell-shaped or starlike flowers that come on leafless stems that rise from clumps of strap-shaped leaves.

Cold-hardy species naturalize easily and look best in small or large drifts. S. peruviana is most attractive in clumps along pathways, at edges of mixed plantings, and in containers.

Plant all types in fall, in well-drained, organically enriched soil. Set bulbs of cold-hardy species 2–3 in. deep and 4 in. apart; set those of S. peruviana 3–4 in. deep and 6 in. apart. Reduce watering when foliage yellows after bloom. Hardy kinds will tolerate less moisture during summer dormancy, but don’t let soil dry out completely. S. peruviana will accept summer moisture but doesn’t need any. Divide clumps (during dormancy) only when vigor and bloom quality decline.

Scilla bifolia

Native to Europe and southwest Asia. Each 8-in. stem carries three to eight 1-in.-wide, star-shaped flowers in turquoise blue. White, pale purplish pink, and violet-blue varieties are available. Each bulb produces only two leaves.

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