The Bells of Ireland plant is a unique flowering plant. Native to the Caucasus, Turkey, and Syria, Annual Bells of Ireland are distinctive and stately plants. They are grown for their tall, dark green spires, thickly covered by lighter green, bell-shaped calyces (leaves). The leaves are so lush, they all but hide the small white or pink flowers. Flowers bloom once during the season, with a pleasant scent. Use this “How to grow Bells of Ireland” to get started on growing this attractive plant that will surely catch the attention of fellow gardeners.
Surprise, surprise. Bells of Ireland are not native to Ireland. They are native to Syria, Turkey, and the Caucuses. The plants are lucky symbols, perhaps linking their name to the luck of the Irish. They are also not related to the Molluca Islands, which their botanical name might otherwise suggest.
The plant’s flower spikes are used fresh or in dried arrangements. Obviously, they are widely used for St. Patrick’s Day arrangements. As a lucky symbol, they are also popular in wedding bouquets and arrangements.
Try growing Bells of Ireland in a container on your patio or deck, too.
Caution: The stalks have small thorns.
Try these attractive plants in a container on your balcony or deck. They just might bring you luck!
Other Names: Shellflowers, Moducella Balm
Plant Height: 2′ – 3′
Annual, Moluccela Laevis
Bells of Ireland are grown from seed. They do not transplant well. So, we recommend that you sow them directly into the flower garden.
Garden Tip: If you do start these plants indoors, use peat pots to minimize transplanting shock. For indoor starts, plant them 6-8 weeks before the last frost in your area.
For the best germination rates, pre-chill Bells of Ireland seeds for at least 1-2 weeks before planting. Bells of Ireland seeds require light to germinate. Therefore, do not cover the seeds with soil.
Sow Bells of Ireland seeds outdoors after the last frost date in your area. Keep seeds moist.
Seeds will take 25-35 days to germinate.
Garden Tip: Because of the long germination time, we recommend you clearly mark the planting site.
Important Reminder: Seeds need light to sprout.
Plants are good re-seeders.
Bells of Ireland plants grow best in cool weather.
Grow the plants in full to partial sun.
Place these tall plants in the back of the flower garden, or a container for your patio or deck. They do best in rich, loam soils, but will grow in average soils with regular applications of fertilizer.
Space plants 10-12 inches apart.
Keep soil evenly moist. Water frequently in dry weather.
Add a high nitrogen fertilizer once a month, to promote lush, healthy growth.
Protect plants from high winds. Stake spikes as needed.
Drying Plants – For dried arrangements, harvest plants in mid to late summer, when flowers are at their peak. Hang stalks upside down to the warm, dry, well-ventilated area.
Flowers Bloom: Spring thru Fall
Plant Problems – causes and cures10-