Molucella - Seeds

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Quantity: 150 Bulk Seeds

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Lifecycle: Annual
Height: 30  inches
Uses: bed, border, cutflowers
Hardiness Zones: All zones
Flower color: Green, White
Growth rate: Moderate
Soil Type: Well drained, Average, Rich, Humus
Light: Full Sun, Part Shade
Though best known as Bells of Ireland, the more accurate common name of the Molucella laevis is Shellflower. The reason is that Bells of Ireland aren't actually from Ireland. The plant is native to Turkey, Syria, and the Caucasus, but since Ireland equals green in collective lore, the plant's white-veined green bells aren't known as Bells of Istanbul. 

Another overlooked fact about Bells of Ireland is that the eponymous bells aren't actually flowers. Hidden within the 1- to 2-inch green bells are the real flowers, small, white, and fragrant. Even with these flowers hidden, Bells of Ireland are so striking and unusual that they are commonly used in floral arrangements. 

Bells of Ireland is an annual plant that enjoys cool seasons. Its stems grow to a height of 24 to 36 inches, and along with the bells display clusters of long leaves and small thorns or spines. Bells of Ireland have hard seed coats, and benefit from an overnight soaking before sowing. Germination can be slow, so starting seeds indoors eight to 10 weeks before last spring frost is advisable. 

Once outdoors, space Bells of Ireland about 12 to 16 inches apart. Transplanting can be difficult, so you may prefer to wait and sow outdoors in spring. Along with full sun and average, well-drained soil, Bells of Ireland benefit most from attentive watering. 

Bells of Ireland will self-seed if flower stalks are left to dry. Pick Bells of Ireland on a dry day when the flowers are fully open. Hang the bells upside down in small bunches until dry.

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