Hyacinthoides hispanica

Once called Scilla hispanica, the Spanish bluebell is a popular spring bulb and one which grows easily and naturalises well in our Sydney climate. The small white bulbs are planted in autumn and the best position is one with fairly rich and moist soil in part-shade. They will, however, cope with lesser conditions and still flower quite well. The glossy foliage grows through winter, to a height of around 30 cm. The clustered, nodding flowers appear in September and are a pretty blue. White and pink forms are sometimes available but don't seem as resilient as the blue. They are effective grown beneath spring-flowering shrubs; I also grown them with the white form of Iris japonica and the pretty Crassula multicava, which is in bloom at the same time. They are attractive in a small vase.

Pink form of Hyacinthoides hispanica

It is helpful to fertilise the plants through winter and also as the foliage dies down in late spring. I sometimes grow the surface-rooted groundcover Tradescantia zebrina over the bare area once they have become dormant, then just remove it when the new leaves starts to grow in winter. The bulbs can be divided every few years. This plant is native to Portugal, Spain and North Africa. It is currently classified as belonging to the family Asparagaceae. The so-called English bluebell (H. non-scripta) is less successful in our gardens.

Suitable for Cut Flowers. Flowers in September.