Merwilla plumbea

Water Needs

dry; moderate; water wise

Merwilla plumbea
Blue Squill, Blouberglelie

30 – 60 cm


Light Conditions

sun; semi-shade




pale blue-white; violet-blue; spring summer

sun; semi-shade; light shade; dry soils; rockery; grassland; slope bank; container; wildlife bees butterflies insects;

Garden Situation




subtropical east coast; Highveld

Rain Season


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The deciduous Merwilla plumbea, previously called Scilla natalensis, is a beautiful perennial bulb that grows with much of the bulb half-visible above ground. These are protected with an outer cover of dry, papery brown to purple scales. Broad, tapering leaves emerge in early spring usually after flowering although they can emerge simultaneously; these form neat, attractive rosettes of bright green and are 30 – 50 cm long, tapering to a point, with clearly distinct veins. The flower stems grow up to 1 m tall. A frost-resistant garden plant that form attractive clusters/colonies of plants. Leaves die down in autumn. This species now incorporates several species; S. krausii, S. natalensis, and S. plumbea. S. krausii has a smaller bulb and inflorescence. This bulb is toxic to mammals, is said to be poisonous to stock and humans. Wild populations are declining as as result of over-collection for the muthi trade.

Merwilla plumbea
Merwilla plumbea