Scilla (Bluebells) Planting Guide

Scilla, also known as Bluebells, are the ideal Bulb for Naturalizing - they are hardy wee things, that enjoy part shade. Perfect for undertree plantings.

Not that long ago these bulbs were known mostly as Scilla…. The name has moved on a bit, but shrubs and summer-flowering perennials will still be brightened up by planting these lovely bulbs in among them. And the big benefit is their ability to multiply every year.

There are two types of Bluebells - English Bluebells, and the more common variety found in New Zealand, the Spanish Bluebells. Spanish Bluebells grow much easier in our climate, hence why you’ll see a lot more of these than the English version.


Spanish Bluebells…

This is one of the tallest-growing hyacinthoides and also the one that is last to flower - their stunning blooms grow to a height of 30-40cm.

Hanging from the sturdy, round flower stalks are lots and lots of broad, bell-shaped flowers.
The colour of this species found in the wild is violet-blue but there are also large-flowering pink, white, light blue and dark blue cultivars available.

Plant the bulbs in locations where the soil is rich in nutrients and sufficiently moist, and do so as soon as possible after acquiring them.


English Bluebells…

These hyacinthoides look somewhat like the previous species but do not grow as tall and bloom a bit earlier. The flower stalks often lean a little toward one side because the flowers bloom all on one side. They have a very slight sweet fragrance, and grow slightly shorter stems than their Spanish counterparts (around 20-30cm)


Scilla (Bluebells) planting guide…

  • Site your Bluebells in an area that gets full sun or part shade. Ensure that the soil is free draining. Ideally somewhere that they can be left to naturalise over the years.
  • Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 15cm, and mix in our Bulb Food… alternatively a good quality general purpose fertilizer will do the trick.
  • Plant your Bluebell Bulbs with the pointy side facing upwards, to a depth of 10cm. Leave spacings of 10cm’s to give them space to multiply and bulk up.
  • Keep your Bluebell Bulbs moist, but not wet… keep watering from time to time until the folliage has died down completely (after flowering has been and gone)

Scilla’s also make a lovely addition to the bouquet - the best time to be picking these flowers is early morning, before the heat of the sun hits.

As with all Bulbs, it’s important to let the leaves die down completely before removing the spent leaves. This will ensure all of the Nutrients end up back down in the Bulb for next seasons growth.

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