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How to Grow Puschkinia — Striped Squill

Puschkinia scilloides, commonly called striped squill
Puschkinia scilloides, commonly called striped squill

Puschkinia — commonly called striped squill–is grown for its small, densely packed racemes of bell-shaped, pale blue flowers with darker blue stripes that appear in spring.  Puschkinia is a genus of one species, but it is related and looks similar to Scilla and Chionodoxa.

Puschkinia flowers are borne on leafless stalks; each flower consists of six petal-like sepals. Plants bear basal, linear to strap-shaped leaves. Puschkinia grows from small tunicate bulbs.

Puschkinia is most effective planted in drifts of multiple bulbs or as a mass of blooms as a groundcover under deciduous trees.

Striped squill or Puschkinia scilloides
Striped squill or Puschkinia scilloides

Get to Know Puschkinia 

  • Plant type: Bulb 
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 3 to 98
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 3
  • Height and width:  8 inches (20cm) tall and wide
  • Foliage: Strap-shaped bright green leaves are broad, upright, a little shorter than flower stems; 4-8 inches 10.2-20.3cm) stems. 
  • Flowers: Spikelike clusters of bell-shaped white or pale blue flowers with dark blue stripes. 
  • Uses: Naturalizing, rock gardens, or border edgings.  
  • Garden companions: Grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum
  • Common name: Striped squill 
  • Botanical name: Puschkinia
  • Family name: Liliaceae 
  • Origin: Damp grasslands of the Middle East

Where to Plant Puschkinia 

  • Plant Puschkinia in full sun or light shade.  
  • Plant Puschkinia in well-drained, fertile soil. 

When to Plant Puschkinia 

  • Plant Puschkinia bulbs in fall.  

Planting and Spacing Puschkinia 

  • Plant Puschkinia 4 inches (10.2cm) deep.
  • Space bulbs 8 inches (20cm) apart.  
  • For best effect, arrange Puschkinia bulbs in drifts—a plant or two here and there will be lost in the spring garden.  

How to Water and Feed Puschkinia 

  • Puschkinia needs regular water during growth and bloom. 
  • Fertilize Puschkinia in spring with an organic bulb food.

How to Care for Puschkinia 

  • A Puschkinia site that dries out in summer when plants are dormant is beneficial but not required.  

Puschkinia Pests and Diseases 

  • Puschkinia can develop viruses. 
  • Puschkinia have few pest problems. 
Puschkinia scilloides
Puschkinia scilloides

Puschkinia Propagation 

  • Divide Puschkinia bulbs after blooming. 
  • Propagate Puschkinia by digging and dividing the clumps and/or separating the offsets and seedlings in early summer just as the foliage dies back.  

Puschkinia Varieties to Grow 

  • Puschkinia scilloides, Striped squill, a 6-8 inches (15.2-20.3cm) tall species bearing erect racemes of 4 to 10 densely packed flowers in spring. Individual blooms are bell-shaped, .5 inch (1.3cm) wide, and very pale bluish-white in color with a darker stripe on each tepal.  
  • P. scilloides var. libanotica is usually not striped; prefers partial shade. Bears racemes of small .25-.4cm) wide white flowers that usually lack darker stripes and have pointed tepals. 6-8 inches (15.2-20.3cm) tall. Plant in autumn, placing 3-4 inches (7.6-10.2cm) deep. Will grow for years without disturbance. Needs very little water during the summer dormant period. Most effective in masses; a good choice for naturalizing. Zones 5 to 9.    

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