Silver Squill, Violet Squill
Ledebouria socialis

Family: Hyacinthaceae
Genus: Ledebouria (le-de-BOR-ree-a) (Info)
Species: socialis (so-KEE-ah-liss) (Info)
Synonym:Scilla violacea
Synonym:Scilla socialis

Category:

Bulbs

Height:

under 6 in. (15 cm)

Spacing:

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Foliage:

Herbaceous

Silver/Gray

Blue-Green

Other details:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

This plant is suitable for growing indoors

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (4 reports)

Bergen,

Anniston, Alabama

Montevallo, Alabama

Mesa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Brea, California

Brentwood, California

Calistoga, California

Canoga Park, California

Carlsbad, California

Carmichael, California

Clayton, California

Clovis, California (2 reports)

Encinitas, California

Fairfield, California

Glen Avon, California

Lodi, California

Long Beach, California

Los Angeles, California (3 reports)

Menlo Park, California

Pittsburg, California

Pleasant Hill, California

Reseda, California

San Bernardino, California

San Jose, California

San Leandro, California

Simi Valley, California

Valley Center, California

Vista, California

Windsor, California

Boulder, Colorado

Norwich, Connecticut

Washington, District Of Columbia

Bartow, Florida

Fort Mc Coy, Florida

Georgetown, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Lake City, Florida

North Port, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Port Saint Joe, Florida

Venice, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Sandpoint, Idaho

Belle Rose, Louisiana

New Iberia, Louisiana

Schenectady, New York

La Pine, Oregon

Charleston, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Oneida, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Baytown, Texas

Dayton, Texas

Houston, Texas (3 reports)

Huntsville, Texas

Lubbock, Texas

Pearland, Texas

San Augustine, Texas

Chimacum, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Sequim, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

16
positives
3
neutrals
1
negative
RatingContent
Positive

On Apr 5, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A tough, durable, adaptable small houseplant. The mottled fleshy foliage is beautiful on close inspection. The flowers add little, and I think they're best cut off while in bud.

Best treated as a succulent.

The bulbs multiply quickly. A great pass along plant, to give friends and neighbors. Might be nice as an underplanting for a tree-form succulent houseplant like a Yucca elephantipes.

Positive

On Apr 5, 2015, houstongardner from Houston, TX wrote:

i got 2 of these plants a year ago at a local nursery for about 2 dollars each (small ones). in one year they've filled a 12 inch pot. a few weeks ago i decided to put them into a low hanging basket that i have under a tree. the professional that i got it from recommended partial sun and this guy really knows his stuff so i've had it in partial sun since then. when i re- potted them i noticed tons of new bulbs. this is one of those plants that sort of takes your breath away when you really look at it.

Positive

On Apr 14, 2013, Kaelkitty from Adelaide
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

I love this weird little plant. I've grown it on and off for years. It copes surprisingly well with our disgustingly hot Adelaide summers as it can take a lot of punishment, and then bounce back as soon as cooler times return. It is important not to cook the roots and bulbs by leaving the pot in the blazing sun though as I've killed a few small ones by doing that! On the other hand too much shade in the growing season will make the leaves over-green and floppy and prevent flowering.

I have just recently sorted out the difference between the former "Scilla violacea" and "Scilla socialis". The old "Scilla violacea" is now correctly Ledebouria socialis 'Violacea' and always has the purple coloration on the underside of the leaves (although this can be fainter on plants in bad ... read more

Positive

On Jan 5, 2013, Beekeepthyme from Georgetown, FL wrote:

This is a charming little bulb that will fill any pot you put it in. Beautiful little spotted, fleshy leaves and in spring bell shaped flowers come forth. My bees love them and a few of the flowers seem to form seeds. I have never tried to plant them as the Squill itself is so successful in forming bulbbets. 0r bulblets. Bubbles? Very pretty little plant, it does better in pots than in the ground where it seems to get lost. Really enjoy the respondents on Dave's Garden as they seem to notice these small details and to report in such an interesting way. Wish I had you all for neighbors!

Positive

On Jun 13, 2012, burien_gardener from Burien (SW Seattle), WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

The plant is attractive rather than beautiful.

HOWEVER, it is toxic so keep kids and animals away from it -- especially those who tend to nibble on anything they can get close to.

Because of this site, I've saved my new rescue kitty from a gruesome fate as she has nibbled foliage and lab work shows definite kidney compromise. My other cats don't eat vegetation.

Negative

On Aug 29, 2009, dancekmrl from Danville, IL wrote:

I bought this plant for my daughters room as we have a jungle theme in there and the leaves looked to me like the spots on a giraffe. My husband neglected to water it while I was away for a month and didn't open the blinds to let any light in. By the time I got home it was pretty much dead as I had expected. I cut all the dead stuff off, watered it and let it sit on the kitchen counter. I thought it was slowly growing back. About 6 weeks later my cat got very sick. We took him to the vet and he was in kidney and liver failure and we had to put him down. After that the plant started really growing and I realized too late that he had been eating it. The only label on it was "succulant" so I spent many hours searching to see if the plant was toxic. I stumbled across this site and finally iden... read more

Positive

On May 28, 2009, indoorgarden_er from Washington, DC wrote:

I've had this plant for about two months now. When I bought it, the raceme was developed but the flowers had just started blooming, going from the bottom to the top. The last flower is now bloomed, and randomly in the middle I have a fruit developing. I found this page looking for information on when to harvest to collect the seeds and noticed that the information is missing, so I'll try to add it if I'm successful!

I'm very fond of my little squill, he's been really happy in my window. I have to hold myself back from watering him; I do it about once a week. He's still in the tiny 2-inch plug I bought him in, but he's doing fine and I'm about to transplant him!

Positive

On Jan 5, 2009, Eaglewalker from Memphis, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:

The description says hardiness zone 10a, but it has survived two winters outdoors in a sheltered spot (covered with leaf mulch) in my zone 8 Memphis garden. Pretty little plant.

Positive

On Jun 14, 2008, sben451 from Anniston, AL wrote:

I received a "start" of this plant from a relative who called it "Pregnant Plant". My plant is happy on my front porch in warm weather (April through October here in NE AL). I have overwintered my plant for several years by placing it on the floor (landscape cloth over packed fine gravel) in my large unheated greenhouse. It has been happy and looks good in the spring. I have given "starter bulblets" to several gardening friends and my plant looks great. Very easy to care for.

Positive

On Apr 25, 2008, nanniepb from Cumberland Mtns, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

We always called this plant "pregnant onion", not knowing what the real name was. I know I've been growing this plant for 14 yrs, if not more. I've shared bulbs with people in Cherry Hill, NJ, KY, GA, and now TN. They all love it. It definitely is a conversation starter.

Positive

On Feb 21, 2008, snuzi from Belle Rose, LA wrote:

I received this plant in a trade and I love it. I placed it on my windowsill where it received full sun and it shrived up and wilted. The bulbs stayed semi-firm so I moved the plant to a bright lit area and babied it. It's making new leaves and doing very well. So I find this plant prefers bright indirect light.

Positive

On May 6, 2007, makshi from Noblesville, IN (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love the look of the leaves. It is very happy sitting in my east window. I do however have to remember to check it so it won't dry out too much.

Positive

On Dec 24, 2006, cherryUSA from Boulder, CO wrote:

Our family has one of these that is over 100 years old. For Kansas, USA, women to have an exotic plant like this must have been delightful. It was in my great-grandmother's household. When my grandmother came on a train to the eastern plains of Colorado, USA, to join her homsteading husband living in a sod house, yes a "soddy," she brought this plant on her lap. It grew all those years, it moved to Denver, CO, where it resided until 2001 when my mother died. It now is in Erie, CO, and part of it is being separated into 14 small plants to give to relatives this Christmas. I don't remember it ever blooming, but it could have. We have protected this plant a long time. Ours is obviously a rather pure version, and the leaves are thinner and longer. All else is the same. It has suffer... read more

Neutral

On Jun 9, 2006, Connie_G from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I just bought a version of this plant, called "Spotted Squill" (scilla violacea). When I used PlantFiles, it said this area is an "exact match" ;mine has the spots but purple tiny blooms...not white...thus the "violacea" I guess! I'll try to remember to post later to see how it's doing in my kitchen window.

Positive

On Apr 26, 2006, KathyinAlabama from Montevallo, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

Love this unusual & easy-to-care-for houseplant.
I've dubbed it the "Frog" plant as the leaves look like frogskin.

Positive

On Dec 19, 2005, GeeLily from Mission
Canada wrote:

This plant has been one of my 'mystery plants'- the ones I buy because they are alien to me and sometimes stay that way for ages. It has survived a couple of droughts in the summertime when I put it under a tree and forget to water it, but always rebounds happily when it is finally watered. I just love the reverse spotting on the leaves- silver dots on green is more usual. The flowers are small but very interesting close up. A real attention getter for plantaholics! I give it excellent drainage and so it can put up with a fairly moist soil. It looks fantastic with my angelwing begonias that have the opposite spotting.

Neutral

On Nov 5, 2005, cactus_lover from FSD
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

Green to purple bulbs 2-4 cm in diameter;spreading,fleshy leaves 10-15 cm long and 2 cm wide,with some dark green marks above,green or pink-purple below.

Positive

On Aug 13, 2005, _renee_ from Porirua
New Zealand wrote:

I have had my plant for about 18 months, and I'm impressed that it has survived for this long under my care. I keep it on a bookshelf in a warm room, in bright but not direct light. I recently had to submerge the whole pot in water to re-wet the potting mix as I hadn't watered it in around eight or nine months (I know, I'm a horrible person). It had obviously wilted but was not hanging over the side of the pot; a week after watering it has perked up and looks fine. Anything this tough gets my vote. Plus, it's an attractive and interesting plant.

Positive

On Nov 16, 2004, NutHead from Brooklyn, NY wrote:

I have grown this plant entirely indoors for a few years now, first in a window getting 3 or 4 hours of strong afternoon sun, where it flowered; but also in a window with only an hour or so of morning sun that is filtered through open trees, where so far, it has seemed happy enough.
The flowers are not spectacular, but interesting magnified. The foliage is the beauty of this plant. Whenever a plant lover comes across it, it always elicits a very favorable response.

Neutral

On Oct 7, 2001, Baa wrote:

Bulbous perennial from South Africa.

Has evergreen, lance shaped, thick, mid green leaves over laced with a veneer of silver and dark green spots, the whole leaf is purple beneath. Fleshy bulbs and stems are also a reddish purple. Bears tiny, greenish white, bell shaped flowers with a small pink stipe running down each petal, can be up to 20+ flowers on each spike.

Flowers April - July

Hardy down to freezing so best kept in a frost free place indoors. Needs very well drained soil in full sun and can be grown outside where there is no danger of frost. Bulbs at the base of the plant must be above the soil. Multiplies rapidly.