Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bells of Ireland
Moluccella laevis

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Moluccella (mol-yoo-SELL-uh) (Info)
Species: laevis (LEE-viss) (Info)

Synonym:Molucella laevis

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

32 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant is resistant to deer
Flowers are good for cutting
Flowers are good for drying and preserving
Provides winter interest
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By dave
Thumbnail #1 of Moluccella laevis by dave

By Lenjo
Thumbnail #2 of Moluccella laevis by Lenjo

By Cajun2
Thumbnail #3 of Moluccella laevis by Cajun2

By Cajun2
Thumbnail #4 of Moluccella laevis by Cajun2

By mystic
Thumbnail #5 of Moluccella laevis by mystic

By tubbss5
Thumbnail #6 of Moluccella laevis by tubbss5

By tubbss5
Thumbnail #7 of Moluccella laevis by tubbss5

There are a total of 20 photos.
Click here to view them all!


6 positives
5 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral gourdobean On Oct 8, 2010, gourdobean from Minden, NV wrote:

Self sowed in tomato patch and now picking tomatoes is painful because of the dried spiny flowers. Be careful where you let these grow...they are cute when green and sharp when dried.

Positive CurtisJones On Nov 25, 2008, CurtisJones from Longmont, CO wrote:

From your friends at Botanical Interests: Annual. Blooms late summer. 2' - 3' tall. Full sun. Tall spikes of apple-green "bells" are perfect for the back of the border! A wonderful cut or dried flower. Turns straw-colored when dry. Self sows - will come back from seed the following year. Sow early spring, 2 - 4 weeks before last spring frost. Sow inside 6 - 8 weeks before last frost. Germination hint: Refrigerate seeds for 1 week before planting. Seed requires light to germinate - press lightly into soil surface and keep moist. Likes a well-drained, moderately fertile soil.

Positive woofie On Jul 8, 2008, woofie from Chewelah, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

The seeds appear to keep very well. I had 4 seeds left from a packet purchased in 1994 and 3 of them germinated this year with no special care (other than starting them in a 4-pack in my greenhouse). Very nice contrast plant; great for cutting gardens.

Positive Jnette On Nov 9, 2007, Jnette from Northeast, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I really like this plant. It is outstanding in cut bouquets. Always the last one to fade. Still looking good when the rest have to go. When I emptied my containers, the roots on this plant had what looked like tubers on them.

Am very curious about that. Since no one else has mentioned this I think I will grow them again next year and see if that happens again and then hold those over the winter and see what happens.

Positive milkbonehappy On Nov 2, 2007, milkbonehappy from Chester, VT (Zone 5a) wrote:

Unusual lime green color and dramatic spikes look great in arrangements. Needs cold exposure to germinate - I direct-sowed the seeds in the fall/early winter and they germinated the following spring. Easy to collect seeds from dried "bells" - there are 4 seeds in the base of each one; be careful for the small thorns on the stem which are soft when the plant is green but become sharp when the plant dries. Spikes do tend to flop over when they get large. Good for a cutting garden.

Negative rebecca101 On Jul 11, 2007, rebecca101 from Madison, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

These have some very good points:

-lovely spires of bells
-beautiful and unusual lime green color, sets off the color of other flowers well
-very easy to germinate and grow

But they have some very bad points too, in my opinion:
-horrible, astringent stink that emanates from them and permeates the garden. The smell stays on your hands all day if you touch them and is hard to wash off.
-they flop over all over the place and look like a regular mess in the garden. More useful for cutting, but I can't stand the smell in the house.
-the bells are mostly hidden by the leaves, you must remove the leaves to see them
-spires are covered in prickles that look soft but are actually painfully sharp.

All in all, I will probably not be growing these again. It was fun to try though.

Neutral Angel_D On Apr 1, 2007, Angel_D from Quincy, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

the seed packet says that the seeds should either be chilled in the fridge for 5 days before planting, or soaked in warm water for 3-4 hours before planting. Sounds like cold temps are important for germination.

(Seed packet - Burpee's, packed for 2007; origin - Holland)

Positive lemmons75 On Jul 26, 2006, lemmons75 from Rock Hill, SC wrote:

I planted them for the first time this year.They turned out well.I started them from seeds and had enough to give away to family and friends.Very beautiful flowers and a strong sent that smells like lemon.I plan to resow next year.

Neutral rocknross On Jun 8, 2006, rocknross from Los Lunas, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:

watch out for the thorns
I planted them from seed in 2005
and self seeded in my garden in 2006
had never heard of this plant before 2005 the bells are pretty

Neutral Gabrielle On Jan 27, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Bells of Ireland is an interesting enough plant, but not one of my favorites. It has self-seeded some, and I allow a few to stay in out of the way areas. They do have a tendency to flop.

Positive tervito On Jun 19, 2003, tervito from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

I live in Duluth. Last year put in a whole seed pack and got two seedlings, which matured into spectacular plants, although had more spread than I expected. At peak the stalks were about three feet high.

This year (2003), expecting the same rate of success, I planted two seed packs and got hundreds of seedlings, plus at least one that self-seeded from last year. I planted a little earlier, I'm sure, and it was a cold spring ... I suspect the cool temperatures aided germination. Since the seed pack stressed direct sowing, I expected that transplanting these seedlings would be troublesome, but I had no choice since the mass of seedlings needed thinning out in the four small areas I had planted, and I was loathe to keep just the 6 or 10 plants the space would allow. So I experimented with transplanting, and now have 30 plants growing in my boulevard.

The flowers have an intense vanilla-like aroma that seem to originate with the white centers of the flowers. My experience was that they dried green but faded to beige over the course of nine months. Looked striking in a dried arrangement with red astilbe, yellow yarrow, and black-eyed Susan heads.

Neutral gardener_mick On Jan 7, 2001, gardener_mick from Wentworth, SD (Zone 4a) wrote:

Bells of Ireland have erect stems that bear light green, bell-shaped, papery calyx flowers with white veination. They grow to 24-36" tall and flower late summer. Full sun to light shade is needed and should be planted in well-drained soil. They make a great dried flower and turn a straw color.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Ashdown, Arkansas
Ferndale, California
Merced, California
Longmont, Colorado
Aurora, Illinois
Jacksonville, Illinois
Thomasboro, Illinois
Greenville, Indiana
Toddville, Iowa
Barbourville, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Cumberland, Maryland
Middleboro, Massachusetts
Charlevoix, Michigan
Byhalia, Mississippi
Belgrade, Montana
Miles City, Montana
Minden, Nevada
Los Lunas, New Mexico
Binghamton, New York
Elba, New York
Blacklick, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Vinton, Ohio
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Allen, Texas
Anton, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Tremonton, Utah
Chester, Vermont
Leesburg, Virginia
Chewelah, Washington
Ione, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Madison, Wisconsin

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America