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Hyacinthoides hispanica 'Excelsior'

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Kemper Code:  C483

Common Name: Spanish bluebell
Zone: 3 to 8
Plant Type: Bulb
Family: Hyacinthaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: None
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1 foot
Bloom Time: April - May   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Purple blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture: Click for monthly care information.

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates shady conditions. Perhaps best in sun-dappled part shade. Plant bulbs about 3-4” deep and 4-6” apart in the fall. Naturalizes well by both bulb offsets and self-seeding in optimum growing conditions. ‘Excelsior’ may not come true from seed, so spent flower spikes should be promptly removed to prevent self-seeding. Plants go dormant by early summer.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Hyacinthoides hispanica, commonly called Spanish bluebell or wood hyacinth, is a bulbous perennial that is native to Spain, Portugal and northwest Africa. Each bulb produces a clump of 2-6 strap-shaped leaves from which rises a rigid flower stem typically containing up to 12-15 hanging, bell-shaped, bluish lavender flowers held in an upright raceme. Flower stems rise to as much as 18” tall. ‘Excelsior’ is a popular cultivar that is slightly taller than the species (to 22” tall) and features deep purple-blue flowers with paler blue petal striping. Species is synonymous with and formerly known as Scilla campanulata, Scilla hispanica and Endymion hyspanicus. Blooms in mid-spring at the time of the late tulips.


No serious insect or disease problems. Leaves can become rather unsightly before they disappear.


Provides color and contrast to the woodland garden, border front, rock garden or wild/naturalized area. Particularly effective when naturalized in large drifts under deciduous trees or at the margins of shade/woodland gardens. May be grown in pots/containers, alone or in combination with other spring flowering bulbs.

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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