Plant of the Month for October, 2019

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Barnardia japonica

 (ba- NAR-dee-a  juh-PON-ih-ka )

General Information:

Barnardia japonica is a lovely bulb that flowers in late summer, early fall, when most other rock garden plants are slowing down. The pink-mauve flower spikes are quite tall for such a small bulb, reaching about a foot. The flowers are very dainty, but are produced in numbers large enough to give a good display. As the flowers open, the flower scape elongates.

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Barnardia japonica :photo by Robert Pavlis

Also known as the silly squill and the Japanese jacinth, this plant has had many botanical name changes over the years and is better known as Scilla scilloides.

Some sources say that the leaves start growing in spring and die down in summer, while others say they start in mid-summer just before flowering. Mine start in mid-summer and are present while flowering.

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Barnardia japonica :photo by Robert Pavlis

These are easily grown from seed and take 2-3 years to flower. A white variety is also available.

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Barnardia japonica :photo by Robert Pavlis

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 20cm (10in) in flower

Bloom Time: late summer – early fall

Natural Range: Japan, Korea and Taiwan

Habitat: forest margins, grassy hillsides, sea level to 2600 m

Synonyms:  Scilla japonica, Scilla scilloides, Scilla sinensis, Ornithogalum japonica


Light: full sun to light shade

Soil: average

Water: average

USDA Hardiness Zone: 49

Propagation: seed, division of clumps

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


Sow @ 20°C. Seed germinates within 3 months.
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Robert Pavlis