A small family of low-growing, rapid spreading, bulbous perennials with attractive star-shaped striped blooms. Hardy, trouble free and easy to grow.

Family: Asparagaceae
Botanical Name: Puschkinia (push-kin-yah)
Common Names: Striped Squill, Lebanon squill, starch hyacinth, Russian snowdrops.

Foliage: Narrow, upright, basal green leaves. Deciduous (dies back after flowering).

Flowers: Short stems topped with clusters of open starry flowers, in white or pale blue with a central dark blue stripe.

Flowering Period: March-April.

Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun. Can be planted in any aspect.

Habit: Tufted.

Type: Bulbous perennial.

Origin: Caucasus, Western Asia and Middle East.

Hardiness: Hardy in most regions of the UK.

Planting and Growing Puschkinia

Plant 3in (8cm) deep in autumn. Position in full sun or light shade, in any good well-drained soil. Improve soil structure with humus or compost before planting. Avoid waterlogged conditions.

Suitable for the rockery or front of border. Best planted in large drifts for effect, although they should increase naturally once established.

Taking Care of Puschkinia

Water consistently during the growing period to ensure the soil remains moist.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest free. Can be affected by a virus.

Propagating Puschkinia

Increase by dividing and replanting established clumps or separate offsets as the leaves die down. Alternatively, sow seed in a cold frame in late summer/autumn.

Varieties of Puschkinia

Usually sold in spring as a pot grown plant, although bulbs may also be purchased from August to October. Check bulbs are dry, firm and rot free.

Puschkinia scilloides is the main species grown in the UK which bears pale-blue flowers with a darker stripe. Height up to 6in (15cm). Variety 'Alba' has pure white flowers. Cultivar libanotica (Russian Snowdrop) is widely available in the UK. For sale at Crocus.