Sunday, January 31, 2010

Will a Scilla Fill a Pot?

Perhaps one of the best kept secrets in my area is the Tulip Tree Gift Shop at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.  Besides unique garden-related items, they've got a wonderful selection of potted plants at can't-resist prices. These aren't your usual big box store selections and they certainly are more healthy than their counterparts.

A nice feature is that the gift shop often offers the same plants they show in the conservatory.  For example, our last visit made heavy use of Primulas, and you could purchase one for yourself for just a few dollars.

Whenever I want (notice I didn't say "need") a new and unusual (to me) houseplant, The Tulip Tree is the first place that comes to mind.  You don't have to pay admission to the conservatory to visit the gift shop, which is located just inside the front doors, and if you're an AHS card holder or member of the conservatory, you'll get 10% off the purchase of anything in the shop.

Last week, before we left the conservatory, we stepped into The Tulip Tree. (Isn't that a great name? The tulip tree - Liriodendron tulipifera - is Indiana's state tree.) I made my way back to the plants and chose a couple of new ones to take home with me. I had an empty pot to fill.

I've a weakness for interesting foliage, so I grabbed the two remaining Ledebouria socialis (syn. Scilla violacea and Scilla socialis), also known as Silver Squill.  It's a succulent bulb, and if you look down into the plant, you'll see them.  These bulbs are not to be covered with soil and only add to the plant's interest.

The leaves are spotted on top, which is what grabbed my attention, and reddish-purple on their undersides.  Their racemes of tiny flowers are really unremarkable until you examine them up close. This is one of those that always leaves me in awe of the detail God puts into such a tiny thing. Each individual flower is only ¼-inch at its widest point.

This squill is an ideal houseplant because it requires very little care. Due to its succulent properties of storing water in its bulbs, care must be taken to not overwater.  I put it in a sunny south window to satisfy its need for full sun.  From what I've read, it multiplies readily, so I may have some to share with my girls later.

I also bought a Tillandsia, which is in bud.  More on that one when it blooms!


Kathy said...

That is a very cool plant!

Jason said...

Does that make it a windowsilla filla?

FilipBlog said...

Nice plants

Gail said...

Beautiful plant but I have a brown thumb.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I don't think I have ever seen this plant before. It is to die for. You have the perfect pot to show it off in.

Rose said...

Thanks for introducing me to this interesting plant, Kylee. I love its delicate little flowers and the spotted foliage. You are so lucky to have this conservatory near by, not to mention its gift shop. In our area, I don't think there's a green place available all winter!

Unknown said...

I've never seen this scilla before either...and now I want one too! Extraordinary closeup shots of those amazing tiny flowers, too, Kylee. Nicely done.

MrBrownThumb said...

If I had known you liked these I would've given you some of the clump I gave away right before CSF!

I used to grow this one when I was obsessed with having a collection of indoor bulbs after reading the Forcing book from S&H.

If you don't already grow them (and not be an enabler or anything, but...) you should add a pregnant onion and a climbing onion to your collection.

Kylee Baumle said...

Kathy ~ I thought so, too!

Jason ~ It willa!

Filip ~ Hopefully I can keep them looking nice!

Gail ~ I used to!

Lisa ~ I'd never seen it before either!

Rose ~ Come on up my way and we'll go there together! This plant is new to me, too. If I've seen it before, I must have had blinders on!

jodi ~ Thank you, jodi. The year we went to the conservatory for their orchid display is when I really starting looking at things close-up like that. So much detail that many would never notice!

MrBrownThumb ~ I didn't know I liked them then! And you didn't know you'd like ME then either! LOL.
I've thought about those onion things, but I've never seen them around here. I need another houseplant.

Melanie J Watts said...

I have never heard of scilla. Very interesting post Great photos too.

Melody said...

That is a neat flower! I have never seen one up close before. Thanks for showing us.

Anonymous said...

Its a very hardy plant... I have mine over 30 years!!! And its still growing...

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