Growing Scilla madeirensis

Started by Uli, June 26, 2023, 10:48:13 AM

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Dear All,

Reading the growing instructions for Scilla madeirensis (in the email list)I feel somewhat alarmed because this does not at all reflect my experience with this bulb. It must be very adaptable.....
Scilla madeirensis comes from the island of Madeira and grows at medium elevations. Madeira has a Mediterranean Climate but of a soft version being surrounded by warm Atlantic water year round (it sits in the Gulf Stream, I did snorkeling in pleasantly warm water in November) As the island has high mountains it always receives condensation from its cloud cap. But that is higher up than the Scilla grows. However, the medium and high elevations never go as dry as they would in a typical Mediterranean summer.
I agree with Jane that the word baking may be appropriate in the thing the English call ,,summer" but certainly not in warmer or Mediterranean Climates. My bulbs receive summer water (not much but they do) and are exposed to the winter rain in half shaded areas. They do not tolerate any frost. Madeira is lush and green except in the lower south facing slopes. And Scilla madeirensis grows in these lush places. It is poorly setting seed and threatened in its native habitat but grows in many gardens in Madeira. There is a closely related species, Scilla latifolia which comes from the Canary Islands (The Madeiran and the Canary Archipelago are considered as a botanical entity called Macaronesia). Scilla latifolia comes from a slightly drier habitat, is easier to grow and sets abundant seed, maybe the two got mixed up at some stage. But Scilla latifolia does not like ,,baking" either.

Algarve, Portugal
350m elevation, frost free
Mediterranean Climate


Quote from: Uli on June 26, 2023, 10:48:13 AMthe thing the English call ,,summer"

That does not stop many growers in the UK from really baking some greenhouse plants.

Most nice summer days here reach low to mid 20'sC (70-80F), and most summers produce at least some days well above that, but unless any greenhouse is either shaded (not the best option), or has more vents and doors than fixed glass, or forced ventilation, 30-35-40+C (85-105+F) is normal in a greenhouse on a sunny day from late spring into autumn (and yes, we have plenty of those during most summers).
Plenty of UK greenhouses get hotter as their owners have totally inadequate ventilation installed.


Hi, I asked for some seeds from a friend and they sprouted like weeds, the older bulbs are almost like hen eggs in two years!!

During their first summer they stayed under the sprinklers so they never went dormant, I feared that they would rot but as Uli says they seem to like not going really dry. I have made them go dormant this year and they seem to be Ok as well.

I have a load of one-season-old seedlings the size of marbles, some already have the purplish-blue colour. If anyone in the EU wants to swap... I would like to try latifolia, but the seeds I bought never germinated. There is S. haemorrhoidalis as well on Tenerife, a smaller version.

All these plants were placed by Austrian expert Franz Speta in a separate genus, Autonöe. I do find them very different to real Scilla (which would not include autumnalis and the like, these having been moved to Prospero, lacking bracts). Complicated.


Carlos Jiménez
Valencia, Spain, zone 10
Dry Thermomediterranean, 450 mm


For the second time, a reply that I have posted has been added to another thread entirely....


David Pilling

Quote from: CG100 on July 19, 2023, 04:10:28 AMFor the second time, a reply that I have posted has been added to another thread entirely....

Thanks for the report, I've not heard of that before.

Not much chance of me fixing anything - for many reasons.

I wonder do you click on Reply or just type into the Quick Reply box.


I usually use the Quick Reply box.

It is no huge problem, but mighty confusing, especially the first time.

I wonder where this reply will go     :)