Monday, April 25, 2011

Scilla vs Chionodoxa

I love seeing the little blue flowers that appear in the spring. They often appear naturalized in the lawn or showing up in the garden bed among the daffodils and hyacinths. But which are they - Scilla or Chionodoxa?

The main difference is the direction the flower head faces.
Scilla have electric blue flowers that are bell-like, drooping downward.

It's six blue petals surround stamens that have thread-like filaments and are not clustered together. Scilla can grow 3-6 inches high and each bulb produces 3-4 stems with medium, strap-like leaves. It's very tough and cold hardy that easily naturalizes by bulb offshoots and self-seeding. 

Chionodoxa is commonly called Glory-of-the-Snow because it is among the first bulbs to bloom in the spring. Each bulb produces six petaled, soft blue flowers with white centers that face upward and are surrounded by narrow, basal leaves.

If you look closely, you'll notice the stamens have very flattened white filaments arranged close together, giving the appearance of a central white cone.  The plant naturalizes easily by bulb offsets and self seeding.

Both these bulbs are planted in the fall and during the late winter/early spring months begin to bloom. They may be small, I think they are both adorable and beautiful!


  1. I'm so glad I found your blog. You are a professional. It will be interesting reading your blog.I love you photos for today. I found thru Gil who was on smallbutcharming.

  2. Thanks for the explanation. Now I know that the small clump of blue flowers under the oak tree is Chionodoxa. They were planted long before I purchased the house, but each spring, they are the old reliables of the yard.

  3. Granted, these are attractive but I recently saw them in a natural area where it looks like they have begun to spread. It looks like they have a potential to be quite invasive. (near Sharpsburg, MD)

    1. They do naturalize but by the time the foliage is dying down, the grass is already growing.

  4. They are considered an invasive species. Don’t grow them near the woods.


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