Also known as Portuguese squills, scillas peruviana produce large dome-shaped heads adorned with fifty to a hundred small lavender blue star-shaped flowers, complimented by an impressive strap-like, semi-evergreen foliage lying close to the ground. Opening from a tight dark bud and flowering from the base up, these stunning bulbs are worth a place in any garden. Try mixing with ipheons, fritillaries, narcissi or tulips.
Plant shallowly just below the surface — covering bulbs with no more than 2 cm of soil and allowing for 4 to 6 units per square meter — in moderately fertile, sandy, well-drained soil in full sun to light shade. Scillas peruviana will not tolerate dense soils so make sure to add grit and sharp sand to aid drainage if your soil is heavy. Feed every couple of weeks with high potash feed; if you garden organically, liquid seaweed is ideal as it is organic and comes from a sustainable source. During the summer and once the flowers have completely died away, make sure to keep bulbs dry. Over time, they will happily naturalise and form large clumps.
Always unpack on arrival and store in a cool place until ready to plant. Take care! Scillas peruviana can be harmful to cats, dogs and horses. Keep away from paddocks.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Scillas do not usually suffer from any serious diseases or pest problems. However, they may be affected by viruses. These can cause a number of problems ranging from the appearance of deformed leaves and flowers to colour patterns and streaking. It is advisable to lift and destroy any affected plant at first sight.