English Bluebells V Spanish Bluebells?

13th Oct 2022

Bluebells are still a hot topic. Every now and then there will be an article about the invasion of Spanish Bluebells and how they will spoil our native species, but this isn’t necessarily true. Named Hyacinthoides Non-Scripta (English Bluebell) and Hyactinoides Hispanica or Scilla Campanulata (Spanish Bluebell) they are very similar but the differences are obvious.

English Bluebells V Spanish Bluebells

Hyacinthoides Non-Scripta – English Bluebells

  • White Anthers
  • Scented
  • Thin leaves
  • 20-40cm high
  • Deep blue violet colour with elongated trumpets
  • Flowering on one side of the stem

Hyacinthoides Hispanica – Spanish Bluebells

  • Light blue colour
  • Blue anthers
  • No scent
  • Tall densely populated stems with flowers on either side
  • Broad leaves

There is a study that shows that the English bluebell has dominant genes and although they can hybridise, it is not likely to be destroyed by the ‘Spanish invasion’. Driving around Norfolk I have stumbled across quite a few woodlands with English bluebells naturalising. As a supplier, we know we have sold millions of them over the years so we’re pretty confident that our native bluebell is safe.

There is, however, a slight complication – the Dutch cultivated Bluebells are slightly different. Significantly cheaper, these bulbs are grown in huge quantities. They are technically Hyacinthoides Non-Scripta (the English Bluebell) but they don’t have the true colouring or form.

But be warned, they are all very hard to contain once they have started to spread. The Hispanica bulbs are particularly difficult to dispose of. If you are planning on planting any, it is wise to consider the surroundings and whether there are any of the opposing bulbs nearby. It is a wonderful sight to see a carpet of flowers if you have room for them to multiply.

If you would like to enjoy these quintessential spring flowers, with their rich colour and delicate scent, we sell both the Dutch and UK Cultivated English Bluebells.