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Squill

Quick facts

Squill (Scilla siberica) is a popular landscape plant that can be invasive. 

  • Squill readily spreads itself and is hardy and cold tolerant.
  • Often found in wooded areas in early spring, emerging and blooming right after snow melts. 
  • Please report this species so we can better understand its distribution in the wild.

Squill is a spring ephemeral, emerging early and blooming right after the snow melts. It is a hardy plant and cold tolerant, and it has historically been a favorite of gardeners for its striking blue flowers. Unfortunately, squill naturalizes quite easily, spreading quickly by self-seeding and bulb offshoots. Because of its rapid spread and condition tolerance, this non-native species has the potential to become an invasive plant.

many blue squill flowers growing in the grass
Squill is easy to identify by its vivid flowers in early spring.

How to identify squill

  • Stem: One or more arching, hairless flower stalks form from the center of the rosette.
  • Leaves: 5-inch-long, grass-like, hairless leaves emerge from one point.
  • Flowers: 1-inch-wide, bell-shaped flowers occur singly or as a group of 2-3 at the top of a slim stem. Consists of six flaring, blue petals with a dark blue center strip and six white stamens with blue tips. Flower color may vary with variety and include white, pink or violet.
  • Seeds: Seed capsules are green and bumpy, and turn brown as they mature and split to produce dark reddish-brown seeds.
  • Roots: Bulb

Common look-alikes

  • Crocus (Crocus vernus) is one of the first plants to emerge and flower in the spring. This non-native bulb is commonly planted in yards and gardens. Flowers have 6 petals, are 2-3 inches across, and range from white to purple. 
  • Glory of the snow (Chionodoxa luciliae) is another very early blooming non-native bulbs with 6 thin flower petals that are purple with white near the center.

Reporting and controlling squill

Please report squill that has escaped, not squill that's in a tended garden. As with all non-native species found in unmanaged areas, report findings of this species using one of the following methods: 

  1. Use the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN) free mobile app (preferred).
  2. Report using the EDDMapS Midwest web-based mapping system for documenting invasive species.
  3. Contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Arrest the Pest program via email at arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or call 1-888-545-6684.

Management

  • Mow after bloom to remove seed heads and reduce spreading by seed.
  • Thin by digging after bloom before seed set and composting plants.
  • Monitoring the area each spring is important for continued control. 
  • There are no special considerations disposing of this plant.

Angela Gupta, Amy Rager and Megan M. Weber, Extension educators 

Reviewed in 2021

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