Bells of Ireland (half hardy annual) MOLUCELLA

A plant which is interesting rather than beautiful and which came to us from Syria and not Ireland, despite its common name. Each flower is white and insignificant but is surrounded by a large, green and bell-like calyx. These floral bells are borne on graceful stems, somewhat colourless in the garden, perhaps, but a joy for the flower arranger.

VARIETIES: There is a single species, M. laevis, which is sometimes listed as the Shell Flower. If you want to use it for indoor decoration, cut the stems when the bells are fully open and dry the stems in a cool and airy place away from direct sunlight. These ‘everlasting’ flowers are most useful for winter flower arrangements.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – thrives in sun or light shade.

PLANT DETAILS: Height 2 ft.

Spacing: 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: August-September.

PROPAGATION: Follow the Half Hardy Annual technique . Alternatively in mild areas sow seeds outdoors in April.

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