Peruvian Scilla

Peruvian Scilla

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Mediterranean bulbous plants: Peruvian Scilla

Despite the name, this species is widespread in nature on the Mediterranean coasts; also in Italy it is easily found in the coastal areas of the southern and central regions. Peruvian Scilla was baptized, as the first known and cataloged samples of this bulbous were taken to England by a ship called "Perщ"; It is easy to understand the misunderstanding of those who asked: "where does this bulb come from?", who heard himself answered "by the Perch".
It should therefore perhaps be called Scilla Mediterranea, but now the name has been given; in Italy it is commonly called Scilla maggiore, while in the Anglo-Saxon countries it is called Peruvian lily, or even Cuban Lily. It is a perennial bulbous plant, with a particular development: in general it begins to develop the large ribbon-like leaves already in autumn, and continues until spring; in April or May thick stems rise from the large head of fleshy leaves, which bear a large umbrella-like inflorescence, whose flowers, usually blue, bloom in succession. At the end of flowering the umbrella has become a large cone, which can carry up to two hundred flowers, followed by fertile seeds. The flowers bloom in all the shades of blue, from the blue sky to the almost purple blue; there are also completely white flower varieties. Flowering takes almost a month to complete; with the arrival of summer heat, in June or July, the plant tends to become dormant, and to lose its aerial part, in order to counteract the dry heat of the Mediterranean regions. When the leaves dry out naturally, we can detach them from the plant and completely stop treating them; it will resume sprouting when the cool starts, in September or October.

Grow Scilla

These bulbous plants are easy to grow, and are particularly suitable for low-maintenance gardens; in particular, they are much more floriferous if left undisturbed for years, while repotting, division of cloves, soil work, tend to disadvantage the production of flowers. They are planted in the autumn, in a sunny position, or even in partial shade, but where the plant can enjoy at least a few hours a day of direct sunlight, very hot and scorching. In areas with very cold winters, it is advisable to place the bulbs near the house, in a flowerbed facing south or east, so that the sun heats the ground even in the middle of winter. Generally they can withstand temperatures of a few degrees below zero; to avoid that the bulb suffers, we tend to plant it a little deeper, where the winter temperatures are very low. In the areas of origin of the plant, however, the bulb is simply placed with the upper part outside the ground, or at most a couple of centimeters underground. Watering is provided only in spring, and only if the climate is particularly dry; these bulbous plants are in fact very resistant to drought, and in general, once placed at home and well developed, they tend to need very little care, being satisfied almost only with the water supplied by the weather. Sometimes it happens to have to water the scilla already in autumn, as soon as they sprout, even if usually, at this time of year, the rains help us a lot. It is fundamental to place the bulbs in a very well drained soil, which makes the water flow well, especially during the cold months. If we live in an area with a decidedly cold and cold winter climate, we can think of growing the plant in a pot, so as to move it to a cold greenhouse during the cold season; or we can simply cover the head of leaves with the woven fabric, so that the temperature near the plant is never too rigid.

Propagate the scilla

There Peruvian Scilla tends to produce a large number of fertile flowers, given the enormous inflorescences; these seeds are sown in autumn, in a sheltered place from the cold, well bright and fresh. A good soil is used, mixed with a little sand, so as to obtain a very porous compound, which tends to make the water slip away. The seedbed should be sheltered from the cold, and watered with great regularity as soon as it tends to dry out. The varieties available in the nursery are generally cultivar or hybrid varieties, which is why it will be difficult to know the color of the flowers that we will obtain from the specimens obtained from seed; probably we will get many plants with light blue flowers, a few with very dark flowers, a good quantity with blue flowers, and very few whites (or none at all). The bulbs, if left in an appropriately large flower bed and well cultivated, tend to produce small cloves around to the mother bulb, and to produce thin stolons at ground level, at the end of which new specimens of the plant are produced. If left undisturbed for years, a single bulb can produce a large colony of plants, a patch of leaves and flowers. We can also, every year, remove the small plants that originated at the end of the stolons, and move them where we wish; as for the bulbils instead, it is advisable to move them rarely, every 5-7 years, so as to leave the mother plant undisturbed for as long as possible, because the scilla do not like to be moved, explanted and replanted, which very often leaves them without flowers for one or two vegetative seasons.

Grow a squill in a pot

Even if we live in an area with a harsh winter climate, it is not advisable to grow these potted plants; this is because it is necessary to guarantee plants a decidedly very large vase, where they can remain undisturbed for at least three or four years. It is therefore a decidedly large container, which we will hardly be able to move when the cold arrives. A very large vase is needed because the plants naturally tend to propagate, and within a couple of years a vase would already become overcrowded; but if we are going to dig up the bulb to remove cloves and small plants, we will take away the joy of the following year's flowering. It therefore becomes of little interest to cultivate a plant that will bloom "intermittently". However, if we have a very large vessel, which we can place near the house, facing south, south-east, perhaps protected by the roofs; then we can think of positioning the plant in this container, where it will not even need to be covered during the cold months, as the walls of the house and the roof will prevent it from being exposed to cold and weather.


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