Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Scilla Peruviana

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Scilla peruviana (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Scilla peruviana (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Early summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 50cm

Eventual Spread: 30cm

Hardiness: 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b

Family: Asparagaceae

Subfamily: Scilloideae

Scilla peruviana Flower (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Scilla peruviana Flower (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Scilla peruviana is a deciduous/ semi-evergreen bulbous herbaceous perennial. Its mid green leaves are strap shaped with entire margins, up to 60cm long and 4cm broad. Its leaves die down as the heat of summer advances. Its blue/ deep purple flowers are star shaped, up to 2cm across, arranged in dense racemes on flowering stalks which are up to 40cm tall and 10cm across. Its bulb is up to 8cm across.

Scilla peruviana, commonly known as Portuguese Squill or Giant Squill, is native to south west Mediterranean and north west Africa.

The etymological root of the binomial name Scilla is derived from the Greek Skilla, the name given to Squill (Urginea maritima). Peruviana is derived from the Latin meaning ‘from Peru’, a name accidentally given as the plant was delivered aboard a ship called Peru coming from Spain.

Scilla peruviana Leaf (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Scilla peruviana Leaf (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Scilla peruviana useful as bulbous perennial for hot dry locations. Once established this plant is drought tolerant.

Ecologically, Scilla peruviana is attractive to pollinating insects.

Scilla peruviana prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislike wet soils, particularly during the dormant summer months.

Scilla peruviana requires little maintenance.

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