If you are looking for a unique and beautiful green plant for the garden, you should consider the bells of Ireland as the best option. They are not only attractive in their natural state but also represent special meanings that can be used on various occasions. Let’s learn more about bells of Ireland meaning and symbolism as well as the proper way to grow and care for them.
About Bells of Ireland: Facts and Characteristics
Bells of Ireland (Molucella laevis) are also known as Mulucca bells or shell flowers. They are one of the herbaceous plants that complete its life cycle within a year. The plant is characterized by its aromatic scent and enlarged calyxes in bell shapes, as the name suggests. It is also complemented by cool flowers that grow in the calyxes. The flowers have small features and whitish color shades.
Contrary to popular belief, this plant is not originated from Ireland. It is a native garden plant of Turkey that has been cultivated since the sixteenth century. Bells of Ireland are also found in some areas in the eastern parts of the Mediterranean, such as Syria. The reason why this plant is named after one of the islands in the British Isles is that its shape and color resemble a good luck charm of Irish people.
In addition to their unique and attractive shapes, bells of Ireland are famous for their longevity. The plant thrives best in the summer when it receives a lot of sunlight. In the same season, the flowers will also start blooming. Although green bells of Ireland are the most popular, this herbaceous plant comes in other different shades, including pale green and Chartreuse yellow.
The Meaning behind Bells of Ireland
As mentioned earlier, bells of Ireland get the name because their shape and flowers are associated with an Irish good luck charm. For that reason, bells of Ireland flower meaning mainly revolves around luck and fortune. Bells of Ireland bouquet is usually given to someone who graduates or gets a new job. It means that you wish the best of luck will follow them at their new journey.
Bells of Ireland Uses
Bells of Ireland have different uses and purposes. In addition to being a magnificent garden plant, they work beautifully in a vase or as a fresh flower bouquet. You can also dry them out for a natural wall decoration.
Flower arrangements which include bells of Ireland are usually used in several events and celebrations. They are a great choice for wedding flower decoration. Additionally, the bouquets are often included as a flower symbol in St. Patrick’s Day.
When you gather the plants or flowers for a bouquet, make sure always to wear protective gloves. Bells of Irelands have small spines and thorns that grow along the stems that may cut your skin if you touch them without protection.
How to Grow Bells of Ireland
Bells of Ireland are usually grown in the garden. When they are treated with proper care, the plant can reach the maximum height of three feet tall. Therefore, they can be taller than other common garden plants. Because of this, you can plant bells of Ireland near the garden fence as an outline or border.
When it comes to growing bells of Ireland, you need to provide a suitable environment. The plants can grow in any soil, as well as it has good drainage. However, they have to be exposed under full sun. For that reason, you need to arrange special space in the garden where the sunlight can perfectly reach the plant most of the time.
The Best Time to Grow Bells of Ireland
To enjoy their beauty during summer, you can start planting bells of Ireland in the early spring. The seeds of this plant are relatively slow to germinate. Therefore, it will take about one to two months before the seeds produce shoots. You may increase the growth rate by stratifying the seeds in the fall. It is done by layering the seeds using the paper towel and refrigerate them for one week.
Although the plant is best to be planted in a warm climate, those who live in the location with a cold climate can grow it under certain circumstances. For instance, bells of Ireland seeds need to be planted indoor during winter. After the weather gets warmer in the spring, the seeds can be moved outside to the garden.
Caring for Bells of Ireland
To thrive better, bells of Ireland should be watered regularly. However, please note that you shouldn’t keep the plants in the condition with high humidity. Bells of Ireland prefer to grow in a dry area, so they can only resist the cool weather during summer.
When the flower blooms, you may need to fertilize the plants once or twice in a month. Moreover, when the stalks grow taller, you need to prevent the plant from falling over by hammering a stake into the ground near the planting area.
Recommended Setting for Bells of Ireland
You can create a wonderful garden arrangement by combining bells of Ireland with several other garden plants. Because the plants have lime or bright green shades, the best match for them are flowers with dark purple or magenta colors. Some recommended flowers include globe amaranth, ‘Purple Prince’ zinnias, or ‘Red Velvet’ celosia.
Those who are not fond of the plants’ tall figure can opt for a certain variety, namely ‘Pixie Bells?.’ Unlike the common bells of Ireland that can reach up to three feet tall, this variety is slightly shorter; it only grows between 1-2 feet tall. Therefore, you can grow the plant in a container and place it in the porch instead of the garden.
With their special features, bells of Ireland can be a new favorite garden plant. Once you’ve learned how to grow the plants and care for them, you can use bells of Ireland as a gift or decoration. This herbaceous plant also creates a more beautiful arrangement in the garden, so you can have a growing area that will easily catch everyone’s attention.