Plant of the Month for February, 2015

 (hy-uh-sin-THOY-deez his-PAN-ih-kuh)

General Information:

Hyacinthoides hispanica, or Spanish bluebells are one of the best spring bulbs. Any type of bluebell is a great addition to the garden, but Spanish bluebells put on a better show than most of the others. They flower later than other bluebells and are much taller, allowing them to make a big splash in the garden.

Hyacinthoides hispanica; photo by Robert Pavlis

Hyacinthoides hispanica; photo by Robert Pavlis

Hyacinthoides hispanica are also called wood hyacinth, and scilla. They are native to Spain and Portugal but have become a relatively common plant in many countries. They like part shade, but I grow them in full sun which they seem to like in zone 5. They are deer and rodent resistant and will grow in just about any soil. Plant them and forget them.

Hyacinthoides hispanica; photo by Robert Pavlis

Hyacinthoides hispanica; photo by Robert Pavlis

The other common blue bell is the English bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta. The Spanish bluebell is much taller, has flower bells on all sides of the stem and the flower stem is more upright. The Spanish bluebell has blue anthers while the English or common bluebell has creamy-white ones. The two species cross breed easily and garden plants may be hybrids.

Available in white, pink and various shades of blue.

Life Cycle: perennial bulb

Height: 40 cm (1.5 ft)

Bloom Time: late spring

Natural Range: Spain and Portugal

Habitat: woodland edges

Synonyms:  Endymion campanulatus, Endymion hispanicus, Scilla campanulata, Scilla hispanica

Cultivation:

Light: full sun to shade

Soil: not fussy

Water: regular moisture in spring, drought tolerant in summer

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 - 8

Propagation: seed, offsets

Seedex availability (ORG&HPS annual Seed Exchange): occasionally

J

Sow @4°C for 3 weeks, then place @20°C.
Robert Pavlis