How to Grow Striped Sqill — Puschkinia

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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.    

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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