Last Updated on September 14, 2021
For over 500 years, the Bells of Ireland has been one of the most beautiful summer flowering plants in Caucasus and Western Asia. Growing to more than 2 feet tall, the plant emits a stunning emerald green design and is vertical, with funnel-shaped flowers growing out from the stalk.
The Bells will typically start to bloom in around July and will continue to bloom into September, and they work best in cooler climates. The actual flower part is white and is surrounded by a bright green ‘calyx’.
The plant itself is ideal for indoor and outdoor use, and maintaining it can take a little work. In this article, we make it easy for you to understand how to take care of your Bells of Ireland best and even answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the plant at the end.
Table of Contents
The Main Elements of Care
Soil and Water
Bells will typically prefer neutral soil with a pH of between 6.5-7.5. As well as this, you will want to keep the soil itself moist all the way around so that one part of the plant does not develop more than the other.
Furthermore, during the seeding and transplant stages where the plant is vulnerable, you will want to keep the plant well-watered. However, be sure to focus your watering on the soil and not on just the plants, adding too much water to the plants themselves may waterlog them and you will risk doing damage. The acceptable amount of water for the bells is set to be 1-inch per week.
The topic of light is always contentious when it comes to plants. If you give a flower too much light, it will damage it. Similarly, if you fail to give the flower enough light, it will go leggy and will likely die. The sweet spot regarding light tends to be a mix between the two.
Morning sun is always best, so look to plant the Bells somewhere where they can get full sun in the morning and a little shade in the evening to get sufficient protection. If you plant your Bells in a place where there is a lot of shade, you may want to consider staking them or else you run the risk of having the plant flop.
There aren’t any specific pruning needs for the Bells of Ireland plant as it is not an aggressive grower. However, if you don’t want the plant to exceed a certain height or find the plant getting bushier than you like, you can always use a typical gardening scissors to keep it looking tidy or trim it.
Growing the Bells of Ireland from seed
As with a variety of flower types, you will want to start sowing your bells under grow lights about 2 months before the last frost date in your area. This will usually depend on your location, but it is some time in March in many parts of the US.
Try not to cover your new seeds as they need light to begin germination. If you can get your hands on a seedling heat mat then that will help to speed up the germination process. For the first 6-8 weeks, look to have your grow light a couple of inches above the seeds for a large part of the day (about 20 hours) and continue to keep watering them.
In regard to fertilizer, you will want to use an organic blend once every three weeks. After the frost is gone and your seeds have grown a little, then you can transport the seedlings outside.
A couple of things to consider are the fact that when you move your seedlings into the outdoors, you should try and keep the roots as they are and not disturb them, it may affect the growth. Similarly, the plants may well be a little smaller than you may have planned. This is common after a plants first season; however, as a year or two passes, the seeds dropped by previous flowers will allow for better future growth.
Propagation and Harvesting
The easiest way to propagate the Bells of Ireland is to collect seeds from the drying flower heads, thus saving them to plant the following spring. You can also carefully transplant some of the self-seeded volunteers that spout up in the garden—they will be plentiful if you have left flowers on the plant to mature and dry.
When it comes to harvesting the bells, they are easy to dry and are perfect for flower arrangements. They can be harvested for wedding bouquets because they represent good luck; however, be sure to wear gloves because the stems can have small thorns on them.
Finally, in terms of pests and diseases, the Bells can be subject to Cerospora leaf blight, a condition that causes tiny fleck with yellowish halos to appear on the leaves, infecting them. Crown rot can also cause the plants to wilt from the soil line up, eventually killing them. If you feel that any of your plants are diseased, then be sure to get rid of them because one bad plant can spread infection on other plants.
Aphids are some of the more common pests when it comes to the Bells. Spider mites are common too. Aphids will usually feed on the underside of the leaves of a plant, making them hard to notice. This means that you should always check the leaves to ensure its safety. When it comes to spider mites, they are very small and will suck the chlorophyll from your plant, replacing it with toxins that will likely kill it. The best solution to mites is using insecticidal soap which is available online and in gardening and hardware stores.
What kind of flower is the Bells of Ireland – The Bells of Ireland is known as a Moluccella Laevis, or a shellflower. It usually flowers around summer and is native to Turkey and Syria.
How large can the Bells of Ireland Flower Grow? A typical flower can grow up to 2-3 feet tall and spread to 10 inches wide.
What kind of shade do the Bells of Ireland need? As with many flowers, the Bells of Ireland will not grow to its full potential if it is subject to too much heat or humidity, so using shade cloth or planting it in an area with a mix of sun and shade.
How can I best propagate the Bells of Ireland – The best way to propagate the Bells of Ireland is to take the seeds from a drying flower head and plant them in the following spring to get the best results.
How did the Bells of Ireland get their name? – Even though the flowers are in no way Irish, the Bells get their name because they are said to bring good luck, and the saying ‘luck of the Irish’ ties in with it too.