Growing Scilla madeirensis

Johannes-Ulrich Urban via pbs
Mon, 26 Jun 2023 10:48:00 PDT

Dear All,

Reading the growing instructions for Scilla madeirensis 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.


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