Silver Squill Care: All About Growing Ledebouria Socialis

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Silver Squill or Ledebouria Socialis [Le-de-BOR-ree-a So-KEE-ah-liss] plants are geophytic succulents from the subfamily of Hyacinthaceae. This species of perennial bulbous plant is native to the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.

This small, attractive bulbous plant is the favorite among the genus Ledebouria, grown by collectors of unusual and rare plants, as well as enthusiasts of pot plants and bulb lovers.

Attractive foliage of the Silver Squill (Ledebouria Socialis)Pin
andiafaith | Adobe

The synonyms of this plant include:

  • Ledebouria Violacea
  • Scilla Violacea
  • Scilla Socialis
  • Scilla Paucifolia
  • Scilla Laxa

The common names for Ledebouria Socialis include:

  • Silver Squill
  • Wood Hyacinth
  • Leopard Lily
  • South African Scilla
  • Violet Squill
  • Bluebell
  • Wood Hyacinth

Silver Squill Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Ledebouria socialis
  • Common Name(s): Silver Squill, Leopard Lily, South African Scilla
  • Synonyms: Scilla socialis, Ledebouria silver squill
  • Family & Origin: Asparagaceae family, native to South Africa
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 10-11
  • Size: Grows up to 6-10′ inches tall
  • Flowering: Produces small, purple flowers in the spring
  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate low light conditions
  • Humidity: Tolerates low humidity levels
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 50-60°F
  • Soil: Well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0-8.0
  • Water: Water thoroughly when the top inch of soil is dry, but do not overwater
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize once a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer
  • Pests & Diseases: susceptible to mealybugs and spider mites. Overwatering can lead to root rot.
  • Propagation: Propagate through division or by planting bulb offsets
  • Plant Uses: Makes a great houseplant or can be planted outdoors in warmer climates. Can also be used in terrariums or as a groundcover.

Ledebouria Socialis Silver Squill Plant Care

Quick Scilla Violacea Care Tips

The thick, slender olive-green leaves are attractively spotted and blotched with pewter and lined with wine underneath. 

Silver Squill plant growing in a small pot, long, thin, silver-green leaves curling slightly at the tips.Pin

In winter, it sends up spikes of small aqua-tinted white flowers on delicate stems. It swells at the base to make a bulb. It does not go dormant as our garden lilies and scillas do.

This is an easy plant to grow and to find room for. It’s a true dwarf, seldom tops six inches except for the dainty flowers. Ordinary house plant culture is an adequate temperature of 50° to 60° degrees Fahrenheit. 

Some sun but not the hottest, porous soil kept moist but not too wet, except that it should have humid air so its leaves won’t brown on the edges.

Size and Growth

The Ledebouria Socialis ‘Violacea’ grows as tall as 10” inches long with bulbs resembling teardrop shape and requires minimal care.

Since the entire plant only grows about 6″ to 10″ inches tall, silver squills are easy to grow inside and outdoors in areas with limited space. 

The leaves are lance-shaped in gray-purple to light olive-green shade and mottled with dark green blotches, and lined with wine underneath.

Spotted green houseplant in sunlight.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram

Flowering and Fragrance

During the summer and spring seasons, the silver squill plant sprouts long, thick clusters of 20 to 25 flowers above the leaves.

In the spring, it grows small green flowers on pink stems emerge from the rosette-shaped foliage.

 Silver squill has silvery, lance-shaped leaves with green leopard spots and silver spots and purple undersides. On mature plants, teardrop-shaped bulbs form above the ground.

The petals of these flowers are greenish with white marks and purplish stamens.

Light and Temperature

When growing silver squill indoors as houseplants, interior temperatures are generally acceptable. 

For optimal growth, place the silver squill in a location in partial shade where it enjoys bright light for about three to four hours during the day. A south window is perfect.

Potted plant with spotted leaves in a woven basket.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @doodlebirdterrariums

 Move the plant into a brighter area with minimal direct sunlight to allow the variegations to appear on the new growth. 

When the silver squill is actively growing, room temperatures work well when used as a houseplant. Silver squill has the ability to store moisture in its stems during times of drought. 

Don’t place them in full sun; instead, find a site with filtered or indirect light. Bring the plants back inside at the end of the season.

 The plant does best in low to average humidity. The outdoor plants are able to tolerate temperatures as low as 30° degrees Fahrenheit (-1° C) in the winter season.

Overwintering In climates where the winter temperatures drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant needs to be overwintered indoors. 

When growing outside, the ambient temperatures during the active growth period of spring and summer seasons must be around 60° degrees Fahrenheit (15° C).

The USDA hardiness zones of this new plant are 10a – 11b.

Watering and Feeding

 Gardeners love ledebouria because it’s compact and thrives in average room temperatures with minimal watering. 

Spotted plant leaves, dense growth.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @cornellgardencentre

Water this plant moderately throughout its active growth period. Let the top of the potting mixture completely dry out between watering.

During dormancy, water these plants merely to avoid the potting mix from drying out.

During the growth season, apply liquid fertilizer once per month.  Feed this plant once every month using a liquid fertilizer throughout the growth period.

Soil and Transplanting

Silver squill thrives in well-drained soil, rich with nutrients. It grows well in different types of soil as long as the potting mixture provides good drainage.

Silver quill will grow best in humus-rich, sandy soil, but it also grows in rocky soil, in a pH range between 6 and 8. 

The majority of bulbous plants start rotting when left in a high amount of moisture for a prolonged time.

Grooming and Maintenance

The Wood Hyacinth is mostly grown as a houseplant and needs minimal care. Although throughout the winter season, this plant is in dormancy, its leaves are still decorative.

Hanging spotted plant in potPin
Photo Credit: Instagram @my_plant_housemates

In extremely cold weather, move outdoor plants inside.

How To Propagate Leopard Lily

The propagation of this plant is done using bulbs or tubers.

  • Separate the bulbs and plant them individually.
  • The ideal propagation method is through seeds to stimulate its variability and select unique color forms.
  • Seeds must be planted immediately in a potting mixture during the spring or summer season.
  • Firmly sow the seeds in the mixture and lightly cover.
  • Place in a warm location under a bright light.
  • Keep it damp during the germination period, which typically lasts for three weeks.
  • Water regularly until the plant emerges, but transfer it to its permanent place once it is large enough to handle.

Ledebouria Squill Pest or Diseases

A little plant, the silver squill, doesn’t experience any severe disease or pest problems.

Potential diseases include root rot, leaf spot, botrytis, rust, and powdery mildew.  However, be on the lookout for spider mites, slugs, snails, and aphids.

These pests must be removed with light shaking of the plant or sprayed with light insecticide if the pests aren’t easily shaken off.

Overwatering silver squill will result in roots rotting.

Water only when the potting mixture dries out completely.

Is The Plant Toxic Or Poisonous?

The Silver Squill is highly toxic to pets. Since it seems somewhat grass-like, cats might try to consume it.

Green spotted leaves of a plant, close-up.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @greenthumb.blackheart

The plant includes toxins that might lead to renal failure, which may prove fatal for cats.

Therefore, grow the silver squill plant in a hanging container where your pets are unable to reach it or in a room where your pets are not allowed.

Silver Squill Uses

This plant works as an indoor houseplant and looks excellent on a window sill where it enjoys the full sun.

It goes with other indoor plants. It may also be grown outside in areas where there isn’t any danger of frost.

Being drought-tolerant, it looks great in xeriscape gardens. This plant also makes an excellent ground cover in warmer regions.

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