Monday, November 23, 2015

A Taste For the Exotic: A Holiday Giveaway with Longfield Gardens

From my earliest days as an honest-to-goodness gardener, I've been fascinated with unusual bulbs. Tulips and daffodils are nice, of course, but those quirky ones that you can't find just anywhere always grab my attention.

I've grown quite a few tropical bulbs over the years, in summer and winter, depending on availability, including Scilla peruviana. It's an unusual one, but not so much as its cousin, Scilla madeirensis, commonly known as Giant Madeiran Squill, which until now has not been available to the general public. If you wanted to see it, you either had to view it at a botanical garden or in its native environment.

Found on the Portuguese islands of Madeira, off the coast of northern Africa in the Atlantic, this beautiful and rare species of hyacinth is only hardy to Zones 9-10. It is easily grown in containers as a houseplant and is now being propagated commercially in Israel. Longfield Gardens sent one to me in a kit a couple of weeks ago so I could grow it for myself.

Everything I needed was contained in the kit: a birch bark container,
potting medium, a nice-sized bulb that was already showing signs
of growth, and some decorative Spanish moss to top it off.

I've grown bulbs from Longfield Gardens before
and they've always been some of the biggest
and healthiest bulbs I've ever seen.

All I needed to do was pot it up and water it, which didn't take me more than a couple of minutes. (Instructions for planting are found on the website.)

The bulb itself is somewhat pretty, foretelling the bloom color. It will first produce strappy foliage, sometimes freckled, and it should begin flowering in about 4-6 weeks - maybe in time for Christmas or New Year's!

Planting and care of Scilla madeirensis is similar to that of amaryllis.

Longfield Gardens' photos show its bloom to be a beautiful shade of lavender blue. Bulbs typically begin to bloom at a relatively young age (around four years), and hopefully I'll see some offsets form as it matures over the next few years.

The flower stalk has a bottlebrush silhouette that will
reach about 15" in height.
Photo of Scilla madeirensis courtesy of Longfield Gardens)


Would you like to grow one too? Longfield Gardens has graciously allowed me to give a gift kit away to one of my readers. All you need to do to enter to win is to leave a comment to this blog post, telling me the most exotic flower or bulb that you've ever grown. If you've never grown anything you consider to be exotic, then tell me what you've always wanted to try, but haven't just yet.

Be sure to provide a way for me to contact you, should you be the lucky winner. (You can include your email address by spelling out "at" and "dot" to avoid spambots.)

At midnight on Black Friday, November 27th, I'll randomly pick a winner and contact you so that I can get an address for shipping. Longfield Gardens will then send you a gift kit in time for holiday planting. Good luck!


UPDATE: Congratulations to Louise Hartwig, whose comment was picked by as the winner of the giveaway. Thank you to all who entered! If you still want to grow this great bulb, you can purchase it here.

Photo of Scilla madeirensis courtesy of Longfield Gardens
Further reading about Scilla madeirensis:

I received a complimentary kit to grow Scilla madeirensis for the purposes of introducing this unusual bulb to my readers. I agreed to do this at the request of Longfield Gardens because I've had good experiences in the past with bulbs I've received from them and I can recommend them because of those experiences. The free kit was the only compensation I received for writing this blog post.


Barb said...

Hmmm, the most exotic plant I have now is a curry tree, Murraya koenigii, recently undergoing a name change to Bergera koenigii. I also have a kaffir lime tree which is probably my favorite plant of all as I am totally wild for the leaves in my cooking. I have long admired the Scilla madeirensis in catalogs, but have never gotten around to trying to grow one BarbR7 at gmail dot com

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Love those freckled leaves. I haven't grown anything exotic. I think most all bulbs are exotic in our area. I don't know any that are native.

Jenny said...

I grow amaryllis every year & have some that have been passed down from my husband's grandmother.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Kylee I love unusual bulbs as well and have never seen this one. Thanks for introducing me so I can try one....the most exotic bulb I have ever grown I think has been Allium Longfield Gardens, and thanks for having the giveaway!

Colleen said...

The Scilla madeirensis sure is a beauty.
I guess the most exotic plant that I have grown was Angel's Trumpet
but have always wanted a Bird of Paradise plant.
Thank you for this giveaway opportunity.
ckb_49at yahoo dotcom

Michael said...

Thanks for the chance to win one of those gorgeous bulbs!

Some of the most exotic (imho) things I'm growing in my garden are gingers. Right now, I have a few varieties of Hedychium and two types of Curcuma (elata and 'Scarlet Fever').

Meg S said...

This is not very exotic, but I've been working on orchids lately and getting them to flower again. Proud to say that one little one that a friend had left for dead is looking like it's going to put out a flower in the next few weeks!

Manda said...

Not sure this counts but we do have an african violet. Thanks for the giveaway.

Unknown said...

The most exotic plant I have grown is an orchid...many of them. I think they are so gorgoeus, and quite a challenge! Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
ErinLoves2Run at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

My most exotic thing is passion vine, in western Washington.
tamishaughnessy at Comcast dot net

Gary K said...

What a great looking plant! I would love to try something like this. I've only ever grown green type indoor plants but this could have me trying something different. Send me one and I'll give it a try! Thank you in advance.

Steve Asbell said...

I live in zone 9 but don't know if it will do well in Florida humidity! Worth a shot! Anyways, the most exotic bulbs I grow are probably arrowroot and turmeric. Blood lilies are also a favorite! My email is

Modern Mia Gardening said...

I'm growing some plumeria from seed sent to me by a new garden friend in south Florida. We'll see how it goes. So far, they've survived our hot, humid summer.

Unknown said...

Love these bulbs...

Marylou Smith said...

Amarilla is the only one I have tried. Yours looks awesome.

Valerie B. said...

I would love to have a chance to win the Squill bulb. (I hope this is how to "comment to the blog" b/c this is my first time to do this).
My exotic bulb is an Amaryllis called Papillo Brazilian Butterfly. It has a maroon and bright green bloom. From what I read, this amaryllis was thought to be extinct until it was found in a Brazilian rainforest in 1967.
I found my bulbs at a garage sale sadly sitting in 3 small pots in the corner. I knew they needed a gardener's attention. The people didn't have any idea what kind of "plants" these were. I had just about given up and thought I bought some nice long green leaves b/c it took 2 years for the bulbs to bloom! I was watering one day and had to take a double look to see the beautiful bloom! I have shared these bulbs w/ many of my fellow garden club ladies...we all are amazed at their beauty!


I enjoy reading your blog. I live in Jersey Village, Texas.
Thank you,
Valerie Benjamin

aaanspach said...

Yes please!! ����
Never have... Hopefully after this home remodel I will get the gumption to do so. An orchid would be beautiful!! - Abbi anspach

Julie said...

You know I love my amaryllis--but I'd love to try some more exotic bulbs! :-)

JennyP said...

I'm a bulb newbie, so this would really be fun to try! *pleasepickmepleasepickmepleasepickme*

Louise Hartwig said...

Clivia is the most exoctic bulb that I have ever grown. This one is different. I have not seen this one before.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the chance to win this lovely bulb!
Can't think of anything exotic I have grown, but I would love the chance to try this!

chumblebts at mchsi dot com

Carol Yemola said...

I have three plumeria that are about 4 feet tall. I take them outside in the summer and always hope for blooms. I always get a spike but never get it to flower. Keep trying every year. One of these I will be successful.

Ed Y, said...

I am not the gardener in the house. My wife is and she has a gorgeous amaryllis. It had five blooms last year. She kept it all summer outside and cut it back. I now has four blooms this year. I would love to be able to give this bulb to her as a surprise.

Teri said...

The most exotic plant I have grown is the night blooming daughter's and I held a vigil, anticipating it's bloom. I would love to try this!

Shawna Lee Coronado said...

Love this bulb color - that shade of lilac is beautiful! I'm not much of an exotic plant grower -- I love Christmas Lilies and that's about as exotic as I've gotten. :-)

Carly said...

The most exotic plants I've grown are orchids, but I'd love to try some of the Scilla peruviana and Scilla madeirensis.

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