Hyacinthoides hispanica, or Spanish Bluebells, is a bulbous perennial plant native to the Iberian Peninsula. Plants in the garden will reach from 1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 m) tall with an individual spread of 0.75-1 feet (0.22-0.30 m). I have heard horror stories about this plant being very invasive, but here in Oklahoma that doesn't seem to be the case. I have had these beautiful plants in my yard for over twenty years now. As long as plants are deadheaded so that they don't produce seed, invasiveness does not seem to be a problem. NOTE: All plant parts are poisonous if ingested, and handling of bulbs and foliage should be done with gloves on or they may cause skin irritation. The bulb is hardy in USDA zones 3-8.
Blooming Time: Spanish Bluebells bloom here in zone 7 in mid April into May. The purplish blue flowers are a little larger than regular hyacinths, but they lack the powerful fragrance that regular hyacinths have.
Culture: Hyacinthoides hispanica or Spanish Bluebells need partial shade to full sun with a slightly acidic soil. When we planted them in our yard, we work the soil with a compost to loosen it up. Bulbs were planted 6 inches (15 cm) deep and 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart. A handful of bone meal was added to each bulb before covering it with soil. After planting, they were watered well and need no supplemental water except in periods of extreme drought. We do fertilize them once every growing season, but other than that, they do not require a lot of care. After the foliage dies back after blooming, they are cut back.
Propagation: Hyacinthoides hispanica are propagated by division of large clumps or from seed.
Hyacinthoides hispanica was featured as Plant of the Week April 30-May 6, 2010.
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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.