Scilla natalensis in flower

Tony Avent
Fri, 22 May 2009 08:02:01 PDT

We're certainly far south of Chicago, but Scilla natalensis flowers 
great here every year, with a low in 2008/9 of 9F.

Tony Avent
Plant Delights Nursery @
Juniper Level Botanic Garden
9241 Sauls Road
Raleigh, North Carolina  27603  USA
Minimum Winter Temps 0-5 F
Maximum Summer Temps 95-105F
USDA Hardiness Zone 7b
phone 919 772-4794
fax  919 772-4752
"I consider every plant hardy until I have killed it least three times" - Avent

Boyce Tankersley wrote:
> It was a very pleasant surprise to find flowering outdoors in USDA zone
> 5b, just northwest of Chicago, Illinois, a Scilla natalensis (Merwilla
> plumbea) grown from seed obtained through the PBS seed exchange 10 years
> ago. 
> For years I coddled the Scilla in containers indoors in anticipation of
> spikes with dozens of flowers; then a post came through PBS that
> mentioned that they never bloomed in containers. Uggh, 7 years of
> misspent effort. Given that my collection of non-hardy plants had
> exceeded the available space in our home, the Scilla and a number of
> other 'probably not hardy' bulbs were planted in a south facing flower
> bed that receives reflected heat from the aluminum siding.
> It is a good foot away from the house foundation in an area where Canna
> freeze out.
> I kept 1 container indoors - and indeed it still has not flowered.
> For those not familiar with the Chicago winter of 2008-2009, we spent
> most of the winter with temperatures well below freezing and dipped for
> almost a week into temperatures in the -10 to -16 degree F range.
> Not hot enough for hallucinations yet; am I just lucky or have others
> had it survive outdoors in continental climates?
> Boyce Tankersley
> Director of Living Plant Documentation
> Chicago Botanic Garden
> 1000 Lake Cook Road
> Glencoe, IL 60022
> tel: 847-835-6841
> fax: 847-835-1635
> email:
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