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How to Grow: Siberian Squill
full sun, part sun
Bloom Period and Seasonal Color
Early spring in colors of blue, white and pink
Mature Height x Spread
4 to 6 inches x 4 to 6 inches
attracts beneficials, deer resistant
Siberian squill is a hardy bulb that is most noted for naturalizing in lawns and gardens turning the ground a carpet of blue, pink or white in early spring. I often see this bulb naturalized around old farmhouses in Vermont where it has taken over the landscape in spring. This low growing, small bulb isn’t fussy about growing conditions and is tough enough to bloom through snow and cold. It easily spread by seed and can turn into a spring ground cover in your garden. The sword-like leaves emerge in early spring and a flower stalk bearing 3 to 5 umbrella-shaped blooms soon follows. The flowers fade in a few weeks. Bees love the early blooming flowers, but deer seem to leave them alone.
Where, When and How to Plant
Siberian squill hale from Russia so naturally is hardy throughout our region. Purchase bulbs in fall from a local garden center and plant with other spring flowering bulbs in a full to part sun location on well-drained soil. Plant groups of bulbs 3 to 5 inches below the soil spaced a few inches apart for the best effect. Mix a small amount of bulb fertilizer in each hole.
Siberian squill needs little fertilization once planted. Keep the bulbs consistently moist after planting. Once established, squill needs little supplemental water. To allow them to naturalize, let the flowers fade and seedpods form to disperse seed. Let the leaves naturally yellow before mowing them down; about 6 weeks after they bloom. If you don’t want them to spread, remove the spent flowers, but don’t cut the leaves until they yellow.
Regional Advice and Care
Siberian squill look best when naturalized in a broad area around your yard. Throw bulbs around an area randomly and plant them where they fall to give the planting a natural look. You can transplant clumps of Siberian squill to move them and naturalize other areas of your yard in late spring after the blooms fade and the leaves start to yellow. Keep the clumps well watered the first year. Protect newly planted bulbs from squirrels by adding a small amount of crushed oyster or crushed seashells to the planting hole.
Companion Planting and Design
Plant Siberian squill in lawns, woodlands, and rock gardens and in front of shrub and flower borders. Plant many bulbs at once to have a truly dramatic effect. Plant them where other spring flowers grow, such as glory-of-the-snow, crocus and snowdrops; under spring flowering shrubs, such as flowering quince, daphne and forsythia; and with perennials, such as bleeding hearts and iris.
‘Spring Beauty’ has large, bell-shaped with a true blue colored flower. ‘Alba’ features bright white blooms. ‘Rosy’ has pale pink blossoms.
Excerpted from my book, New England Getting Started Garden Guide.