Squill, care and planting this cute forest hyacinth

Squill - scilla

Like hyacinth and camas, it’s very easy to grow squill bulbs.

Summary of key Squill facts

Common name – forest hyacinth
Family – Scilloideae
Type – spring bulb

Height – 8 to 16″ (20 to 40 cm)
Soil – ordinary

Exposure: full, part sun     –     Outdoor blooming: end of spring, early summer

This bulb produces nice blooms in spring, and decorates gardens or terraces with beautiful white or blue flowers.

Planting squills

Most squills bloom in spring, providing beautiful fragrant bells in the early days of the season.

Group the bulbs in clusters, with only little space between flowers, instead of spreading them throughout the garden.

Planting squill in the ground

  • Planting squillIt is best to plant your squills in fall, 4 inches (10 cm) deep, and they will bloom in spring.
  • Squills are much more appealing if you create clustered spots of color.
    For that, you should plant bulbs in groups, spacing them 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
    The more, the merrier!
  • Squills like sun but must be protected from scorching. Favor part sun instead.
  • Check our advice on planting bulbs in the ground.
  • Here are also our tips to plant plant bulbs in clay and waterlogged soil.

Caring for squill

Squills that are planted in fall will bloom in spring. This is the normal, natural blooming cycle.

  • Squill careCut floral scapes off when they are wilted, but keep the leaves untouched.
  • When blooming is over, cut leaves back only when they have already turned yellow, and only then. The span of time between blooming and wilting leaves is when the bulb is stocking up on nutrients for the next blooming cycle.

All there is to know about squills

There are many different squill varieties, which each have different flowers and blooming seasons.

Varieties of forest hyacinthMost common is Scilla campanulata, which is the one that also has the broadest range of hues, from white to blue and including pink, too.

Another common one is the two-leafed squill, shown in the main article picture at the top. It blooms in spring and particularly loves growing on cool forest floors.

Spring squills, with scientific name Tractema verna, are a species that is mostly found along the Atlantic coast, or in the Pyrenees mountain range in low altitude. The Pyrenees is also where Lily-hyacinth squills Tractema lilio-hyacinthus are found, so named because they look like lilies.

Giant squillFinally, giant squills, more commonly called Portuguese squills, bloom from spring till the beginning of summer. This flower’s latin name is Scilla peruviana, which means “Peruvian squill” – but the only connection it has to Peru is that “Peruviana” was the name of the boat that brought it over from the other side of the Mediterranean! Its blossoms can reach up to 16 inches (40 cm) across, and sometimes even more.

Among the fall-blooming squills, there is the one called Prospero autumnale.

Smart tip about squills

Squills bloom year after year without any care at all. Plant them in different exposures, as your garden permits, to stage blooming for as long as possible.

Our tip: forget about care, just sit back and savor the blooming every year!

Read also on the topic of bulb flowers

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY 4.0: Kim & Forest Starr
CC BY-SA 2.0: xulescu_g
Pixabay: Katarzyna Dziemidowicz, Annette Meyer, Jürgen