Ledebouria socialis / Scilla violacea (Silver Squill) is probably the
most popular bulb among succulent collections, it has stunning spots on
the leaves which make it beautiful and interesting to look at.
Whenever a plant lover comes across it, it always
elicits a very favourable response.
Description: Small evergreen perennial bulbs in thick clusters
that survive drought as effectively as any succulent.
Bulb: Teardrop-shaped, green to purple, clothed in peeling,
papery tunics that prevent water loss, 2-4 cm centimetres in diameter
that necks above soil, it will soon cluster.
Leaves: Lance-shaped, strap-like, 10-15 cm long and 2 cm wide,
upright, fleshy, light silvery green, and basal with dark-green,
turquoise, olive or aquamarine markings above and wine-red to purple
Flowers: Forms racemes of bell-shaped flowers. They are showy,
greenish purple-pink with a small pink stripe running down each petal,
can be up to 20+ flowers on each spike.
Blooming season: Spring and summer.
The foliage is the beauty of this plant. The single spike of
flowers is not spectacular, but if allowed to become a many-headed
specimen, the blooms can be quite impressive en mass. Flowers are very
interesting if magnified.
Family: Hyacinthaceae (formerly Liliaceae)
Scientific name: Ledebouria
socialis (Baker) Jessop 1970
Origin: It is native to South Africa.
Habitat: Grows in arid savanna in summer-rainfall regions,
this species has mottled leaves enabling it to blend into its thicket
Common Names include: Silver Squill, Bluebell,
South African Scilla, Leopard Lily, Violet Squill.
- Scilla socialis Baker
- Scilla paucifolia Baker
- Scilla violacea Hutch
Forms racemes of bell-shaped flowers. They are showy, greenish
purple-pink with a small pink stripe running down each petal.
Cultivation: Ledebouria socialis is an easy-to-care plant. It
needs full sun to partial shade with a well-drained soil mix. Let it dry
completely between waterings. Feed monthly with 50% strength soluble
house plant food when it is actively growing. Hardy down to freezing so
best kept in a frost free place indoors and can be grown outside where
there is no danger of frost. Bulbs at the base of the plant must be
above the soil. It is very happy sitting in window sill too.
Propagation: Seeds or (usually) by division of bulb-clusters.