Several species are too tender to grow outdoors – Chincherinchee (O. thyrsoides) is grown as a pot plant and sold as a cut flower. There are three species which are hardy, however, and two of them are native to Britain. The star-shaped flowers appear in spring, and are always a combination of white and green.

VARIETIES: O. nutans is the best one to buy – about a dozen pendent blooms are borne on each stem – 1 in. bells with pale green backs. O. umbellatum grows to the same height (1 ft) but it has a different habit – the flat white stars face upwards and open during the day. Plant it with caution – it can easily become a weed. O. balansae (6 in.) is a dwarf for the rockery – the white petals are striped with green.

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

PLANT DETAILS: Planting time October. Planting depth 2 in.

Spacing: 4-6 in. Height 6 in. -1 ft.

Flowering period: April-May.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in summer – replant at once.

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