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

Category:

Annuals

Height:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Hardiness:

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Green

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Herbaceous

Silver/Gray

Blue-Green

Smooth-Textured

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:

Non-patented

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

Regional

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

6
positives
5
neutrals
1
negative
RatingContent
Neutral

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

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

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

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

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

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 w... read more

Neutral

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

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

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

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

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 experi... read more

Neutral

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.