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Have a spot with partial sun to moderate shade,
a blank canvas tucked beneath a leafy tree or wooded area, that cries out for
color in the spring? Create a soft sea of blue with Spanish bluebells. Similar
to the English bluebells of poetry fame, these are their taller, straighter,
Choosing a site in full sun to partial shade. In
warmest regions, late day shade or dappled light helps to prolong the blooming
window. Spanish bluebells can be grown under deciduous trees, along shrub
borders and in perennial beds.
Look for a site with soil that drains well. If
there are still puddles several hours after a rain, scout out another spot.
Turn in some compost before starting to plant or as you tuck in individual
bulbs to provide nutrients and to help keep the soil lighter. Plant roots need
oxygen and compost helps keep the soil from compacting, forcing out the air.
Plant in the fall, from September through
November, when the soil has cooled in your area but hasn’t frozen. These bulbs sprout roots and develop a
network in the cool fall soil. Spanish bluebells are more tolerant of late
planting than many bulbs, so if the bulbs got ordered a bit late, it’s okay. Spanish bluebell bulbs should not be held over and planted in the spring. It's important for the bulbs to have time to root in if they are to be able to absorb the moisture and nutrients needed to thrive.
Loosen the soil to 6” deep and dig holes about 4-5”
deep. Add a handful or two of compost to the soil you removed. Examine your
bulb and find the pointy end. That’s the top where the new sprout will appear.
Place the bulb in the hole with the pointy end facing upwards. Fill the hole
with soil, pat to eliminate air pockets and water well to settle the soil
around the bulb. Plant bulbs about 4-5” apart.
Hyacinthoides need about 1” of water a week from
rain, irrigation or a combination of the two during the spring when they are
actively growing. These plants bloom in the late spring to early summer and
that’s when they are actively growing.
Spanish bluebells are lovely in spring
arrangements with large, ribbed hosta leaves. Feel free to cut some for indoor
When your Spanish bluebells have finished their
spring flowering, cut off the flower stalks if you like but leave the foliage
in place until it yellows. While still green, it is converting the sunlight into
plant food through photosynthesis and nourishing the bulbs for next
spring. When the leaves are yellow and
pop off easily with a little tug, feel free to remove them.
1. Spanish bluebells are outstanding early season partners for hostas. By the time the hosta leaves are fully unfurled, the bluebells have bloomed and are ready to sleep.
2. Confused about botanical names? Spanish bluebells are also known as Scilla campanulata, Scilla hispanica and Endymion hispanicus.
3. These plants have no significant critter, insect or disease problems. Get them settled in and they’ll take care of themselves.
4. The surface chemistry of hyacinthoides bulbs encourages the growth of blue-green penicillin mold. This looks odd but doesn’t hurt the bulbs. If the bulbs are firm, they are fine. The mold dies when the bulbs are planted, so not to worry.
Light: Full sun to partial shade
Soil: Average, well drained
Depth: Plant 4-5 inches deep
Water: Average moisture
Uses: Beds, borders, meadows, naturalized areas and containers
Tip: Super easy and colorful. Nice for early bouquets.
They Start Out looking Like This:
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