Scilla is also known as Squill is a genus of about 50 to 80 bulb-forming perennial herbs in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae, native to woodlands, subalpine meadows, and seashores throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle-East. Scillas have small bell like flowers that dangle from thin 3 to 6 inch stems. Most gardeners love blue Scilla which mixes brightly with pinks, purple, whites, and contrast crisply with yellows and golds. The scilla family offers some of the best blues to be found anywhere. From the huge, striking blue of Scillia Peruviana to the smaller, carefree blues of tubergeniana and blue-purples of amethystine these sparklers belong in every garden that celebrates spring.

Most of the ones you will see in gardens and their color are blue, purple, lavender, pink and white scillas too. They are lovely in situations where their delicate beauty can be appreciated planted in woodland gardens, under the light shade of a deciduous tree, in rock gardens, or naturalized in lawns. Modern hybrids come from a number of species, most commonly Scilla siberica. S. tubergeniana has fewer flowers on a stem but more stems to a plant S. bifolia, the twin leafed squill has more open flowers.

The precise number of Scilla species in the genus depends on which proposals to split the genus are accepted. S. hispanica (S. campanulata), Spanish bluebell, is quite tall usually over a foot and a good choice for shady location. The hardiest of all these is S. siberica, which will survive in cool climate plants. But if you want to grow S. peruviana, which is a foot tall usually purple, like the names of many bulbs, S. peruviana’s name is a geographical muddle; though both its Latin name and its common name, “Cuban lily”, give it a Latin American origin it is really native to the Mediterranean region.

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