Hyacinthoides hispanica [hy-uh-sin-THOY-deez, his-PAN-ih-kuh] has bright blue flowers and part of the garden asparagus family called Asparagaceae.
Originally, these bulbous flowering perennials are native to the Iberian Peninsula.
However, these are effective naturalizers and easy to hybridize.
While “Spanish Bluebells” is the only known common name of the species, it is known by a number of synonyms including:
- Scilla hispanica
- Scilla campanulata
- Endymion hispanicus
Regardless of which name you choose to use, the flowers on these plants are incredibly gorgeous and make great additions to spring-flowering garden beds. Hyacinthoides make excellent partial shade flowers.
Spanish Bluebells Care
Size & Growth
These plants are comparatively easy to grow.
When all the growing needs are met completely, they can grow up to 2’ feet tall and have a 1’ foot wide spread.
They produce brilliant blue flowers in April to early May or late spring.
Flowering and Fragrance
The common name for Hyacinthoides hispanica is a misnomer.
It is influenced by the resemblance of the flower bulbs to the common bluebell/English bluebell or Hyacinthoides non-scripta.
This cultivar is known as the Blue Giant due to the large blue flowers it produces.
Unlike the common bluebell, the flowers are less pendulous.
They also have a more erect raceme or flower stem and blue anthers.
The common bluebell, on the other hand, has creamy or white flowers.
The flowers on the Hyacinthoides hispanica Excelsior or Wood Hyacinth ‘Excelsior’ are deep-purple.
Light & Temperature
The plants are hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8.
They are native to cool, moist, and partial shade environments such as the woodlands in Spain, they prefer similar climates.
They can tolerate hotter summers but additional moisture is necessary.
This bulbous perennial thrives in full sun but requires partial shade in warmer climates.
This is necessary as the plants are susceptible to scorching under dry, high heat.
Watering and Feeding Spanish Bluebell
Spanish Bluebell plants have average water needs.
Artificial irrigation isn’t required in regions where the springs are rainy.
In drier regions, space watering sessions so the soil doesn’t completely dry out.
Organic matter like compost, bark, manure, and peat moss are good for adding a sufficient amount of enrichment to the soil.
Add when planting or transplanting new bulbs and periodically in spring.
Soil & Transplanting
The soil mixture optimal for you Spanish bluebells consists of sandy, well-drained soils.
Even though it can tolerate a wide range of soil, avoid unamended heavy clay-like mixtures.
When transplanting new bulbs, prepare the soil with comes compost.
Add sand or vermiculite to improve drainage.
The planting depth should be 3”-4” inches deep.
Space each bulb 6” inches apart and cover with the soil you dug up.
Grooming and Maintenance
The plants are significantly low-maintenance.
There is no need for deadheading the flowers as they fall back on their own once the bloom time is over.
Cut back the plants with pruning shears after it has flowered or let it die back.
Next fall, you’ll have an abundance of blooms.
How To Propagate Hyacinthoides Hispanica
The most common way of propagating Spanish bluebells is through division.
During summer, when there is new growth, divide the rhizomes, tubers, corms, bulbs or offsets and plant them in pots or the ground, spacing them 3” to 6” inches apart.
To propagate with seeds, sow ripe seeds in individual pots in a cold frame.
Keep them in full shade and water thoroughly until they are big enough to be handled and repotted/transplanted.
Spanish Bluebell Pest or Diseases
These plants are typically rarely affected by serious pest and disease conditions.
They are also resistant to rodents and deer.
In the UK, the plant has been hybridized extensively to produce a number of varieties including Hyacinthoides x massartiana.
These naturalizing varieties produce highly fertile and enriched seeds, which spread rapidly and invade areas native to common bluebells.
All parts of the Spanish squill flower and plants are poisonous when ingested, causing discomfort.
Dermal contact when handling the plant can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.
Spanish Bluebells Uses
With so many varieties available, the Spanish Bluebells provides many choices of great flowering bulbs for your gardens.
The plants look incredible in both rock gardens and woodland gardens.
The lovely lavender color of the flowers adds a nice contrast to border fronts and wild/naturalized areas.
They are effectively successful when planted under deciduous trees or shade gardens around your home.
Grow these in pots or containers with other flowering bulbs from the Allium species, tulips, daffodils or others.
Also, grow them in large drifts in annual flower beds as fillers.
They make great cut flowers.