It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem, Silver Bells

Ornithogalum nutans

Family: Hyacinthaceae
Genus: Ornithogalum (or-ni-THOG-al-um) (Info)
Species: nutans (NUT-ans) (Info)



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round

Suitable for growing in containers

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


White/Near White


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer




Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds


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

Merced, California

Boise, Idaho

Divernon, Illinois

Grayslake, Illinois

Boone, Iowa

Boonsboro, Maryland

Ellicott City, Maryland

Sharpsburg, Maryland

Beverly, Massachusetts

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Cicero, New York

North Tonawanda, New York

Haviland, Ohio

Laurens, South Carolina

Leesburg, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

Forest Hill, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 31, 2015, mensamom from Laurens, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

The seeds of drooping-star-of-Bethlehem are covered in an oily substance. There are many species of ants attracted to this and they will dragged the seeds to their nest. The oily substance is called elaiosome, however the Dutch name is much more descriptive: ant bread. The ants feed the elaiosome to their larvae. This is one way to distribute seeds.

Drooping star-of-Bethlehem is an exotic plant. Its origin lies in western Turkey, Bulgara and eastern Greece. It is a typical stinsen plant and arrived on Texel when snowdrops were imported from France. Stinzen plants are (often wild) bulbous plants which were first planted long ago by Frisian (stinzen) and Groningen (borgen) estates, country houses and castles. Contrary to the indigenous Star-of-Bethlehem, the drooping star-of-B... read more


On Jan 31, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This has become a plant of concern among groups concerned with the preservation of natural areas in the US mid-Atlantic. It spreads very rapidly and replaces the native spring wildflowers of our woodlands. It's still less common than its close relation, star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) but is just as invasive.

I've planted it by mistake, and am now having a hard time getting rid of it.


On May 9, 2013, m0mmy1225 from Cicero, NY wrote:

i live in upstate ny and these plants spread like crazy and can handle the cold snowy weather we have here.i live in a zone 5.very pretty plant it doesnt have any smell to it.its growing like crazy in an old vaccant lot next to my house.just came into bloom this week nice spring color plant.


On Apr 5, 2013, bergamot13 wrote:

Today is April 5, 2013 in Summers County, West Virginia. I found these today along the Greenbrier River, and I have never seen these before and I have been identifying wildflowers all my life. I found both white and deep blue/purple ones growing together in a large area. I definitely know the white ones are the drooping Star of Bethlehem, but I see nothing about them being blue. Has anyone else seen these in a blue color? They both have the long slender leaves (two) with the stem coming from the center of the two leaves and a cluster of flowers at the top. I was very surprised to find these blooming so early. I thought I knew all the early blooming wildflowers in this area. I have a book of spring wildflowers in WV and it does not mention ornithogalum nutans, but does mention orni... read more


On May 8, 2010, junebugblack from Gadsden, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

I give Ornithogalum nutans a negative rating because I was so disappointed in the flowers. I planted 50 bulbs, and the flowers were so insignificant that I ripped the bulbs out of the ground and put them in the compost pile. The flowers looked good in catalog pictures, but were much smaller than I expected.


On Mar 26, 2008, jajtiii from Richmond, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I moved into a house last Fall and these things have come up everywhere the following Spring. They are spread out over at least an acre and I see them in shade and in the sun. In my opinion, this thing is a weed in this environment. It is not easy to dig out either, as the bulbs are very deep.


On Mar 5, 2007, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

On my walks in our neighborhood, I have only seen this naturalized on a hill down the street and again on a bank by a small wooden bridge over a stream in May - it hasn't behaved invasively here like its relative, O. umbellatum (Star of Bethlehem). If you can ever catch it blooming on a sunny day in May in the shadows of a wood, its waxy flowers and stalks seem to glow with faint green tints over white petals. Even if it were not so deer resistant, its ghostly aspect should pull at the heart strings of any flower lover. Let's hope local landscapers don't herbicide and cover over these few remaining wild places with landscape cloth & mulch.


On Jun 6, 2006, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Bloomed one year and didn't come back again. Maybe the critters ate it or it got to hot and the bulbs rotted.
Nice shade loving bulb with fragrant flowers held on stems about a foot above the folige. Pretty white flowers with green lines...


On Jul 26, 2005, riggo from Shepherdstown, WV (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is a plant that lots of people are curious about in my area. It took me a long time to figure out what it was but finally I found out what it was. At first I liked the plant, but in recent years I have been watching it spread in larger and larger clumps, especially in some places along the C and O Canal along the Potomac River near Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Along with the Garlic Mustard and Asiatic Stilt-grass, it seems to be out-competing the nice natives that used to grow in profusion in these areas.