Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

58 members have or want this plant for trade.


under 6 in. (15 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

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

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


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:

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

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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14 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Kaelkitty 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 light). This is by far the commonest type seen in cultivation. The "original" green form now known as Ledebouria socialis has all green coloration on the undersides of the leaves.

There are quite a lot of cultivars recognized for this species:
Ledebouria socialis 'Juda' has white and pink leaf edges
Ledebouria socialis 'Laxifolia' has green floppy leaves and was originally described as a separate species in 1897
Ledebouria socialis 'Miner' (AKA 'Minor') a dwarf selection [see ]
Ledebouria socialis 'Paucifolia' a slower growing form with shorter stiffer leaves originally described as a separate species in 1870.
Ledebouria socialis 'Zebrina' a stunning form with stripes across the width of the leaf, rather than the usual spots. This final form has been sold as "Scilla violacea var. nana" but this name has not been validly published and should not be used.

Positive Beekeepthyme 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 burien_gardener 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 dancekmrl 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 identified it. I think plants should have to be labeled correctly with the scientific name before they are sold.

Positive indoorgarden_er 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 Eaglewalker 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 sben451 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 nanniepb 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 snuzi 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 makshi 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 cherryUSA 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 suffered 3 months without water (mom's health was deteriorating and I didn't realize it wasn't getting watered); too much sun in a south window, too much cold too close to the window and other assorted disasters, like being dropped and the entire pot exploding. Frankly this plant must be bullit proof for us to keep it alive this long! I may post a picture later, the part I have is not the best, the big one is with my son, daughter-in-law and my granddaughter who is the sixth generation to take care of it. MERRY CHRISTMAS

Neutral Connie_G 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 KathyinAlabama 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 GeeLily 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 cactus_lover 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 _renee_ 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 NutHead 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 Baa 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.


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

, (4 reports)
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 (2 reports)
Huntsville, Texas
Lubbock, Texas
Pearland, Texas
San Augustine, Texas
Chimacum, Washington
Kalama, Washington

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