in ,

How to Grow Bells of Ireland — Moluccella

Sharing is caring!

Moluccella–commonly called Bells of Ireland–bears small, tubular, 2-lipped hooded flowers from summer to autumn. The flowers are borne in whorls of 6 to 8 flowers each with a pale green calyx. Bells of Ireland is an annual with broadly, ovate, deeply scalloped, pale green leaves.

Grow Moluccella in a mixed or annual border. The unusual flower spikes are useful for dried flower arrangements.

Moluccella is a genus of 4 species of annuals and short-lived perennials. Moluccella is native to the Mediterranean to Northwestern India.

Garden Success Products at Amazon:

Bells of Ireland Moluccella laevis
Bells of Ireland Moluccella laevis

Get to know Moluccella

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 3 to 11
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Height and width: 24 to 36 inches (60-90cm) tall and 9 inches (23cm) wide
  • Foliage: 4-sided stems; opposite rounded to ovate mid- to pale-green leaves
  • Flowers: Luminous green, bell-shaped flowers on a tall vertical stem
  • Flower colors: White or pale pink blossoms set in pale green cups
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Uses: Cut flowers fresh or dried cutting flowers, cottage, and meadow gardens
  • Common name: Bells of Ireland
  • Botanical name: Moluccella laevis
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Origin: the Mediterranean to Northwestern India

Where to plant Moluccella

  • Grow Moluccella in full sun.
  • Plant Moluccella in loose, humus-rich, well-drained soil.

Moluccella uses

  • Moluccella is an interesting addition to a mixed border.
  • Flowers are charming in bouquets and can also be dried for use in winter arrangements.
Bells of Ireland, Moluccella laevis
Bells of Ireland, Moluccella laevis

When to plant Moluccella

  • Sow seeds in spring. In Zones 3-6, sow seeds directly on the soil surface in early spring a few weeks before the last frost. In Zones 8-11, sow seeds in late autumn.

Planting and spacing Moluccella

  • Space Moluccella 6 to 8 inches (15-20cm) apart.

How to water and feed Moluccella

  • Keep the soil evenly moist for Moluccella.
  • Fertilize Moluccella every 4 to 6 weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer or work a slow-release fertilizer into the soil at planting time.

Bells of Moluccella care

  • Mulch around Moluccella to conserve soil moisture.
  • Remove spent blossoms to encourage more blooms.

Molucella pests and diseases

  • Molucella is seldom bothered by pests and diseases.
Bells of Ireland, Moluccella laevis
Bells of Ireland, Moluccella laevis

Moluccella propagration

  • Sow seed in early to mid-spring indoors or sow seed in the garden in late spring.
  • Seeds germinate in 7 to 18 days at 58° to 62°F (14-17°C) when lightly covered with vermiculite. Plants will be large enough for transplanting in 21 to 45 days. Flowers usually appear in summer, but not always.

Moluccella varieties to grow

  • Moluccella lavevis, Bells of Ireland, is an annual with deeply scalloped, pale green leaves; bears whorls of 6 to 8 fragrant, white to pale purplish-pink flowers in 9 to 12-inch spikes in late summer; each flower is cupped in a pale green calyx; plants grow to 36 inches (90cm) tall.

Molucella frequently asked questions

Q: How do I grow bells-of-Ireland from seed?

A: Sow Molucella seed when the soil has warmed and the last frost has passed. You can start seed indoors before the last frost. Do not cover the seed; it needs light to germinate. Keep the seedbed constantly moist until germination. If you start seeds indoors, refrigerate them for 5 days before sowing.

Q: How do I grow bells-of-Ireland for flower arranging?

A: Groom the flowering stem by removing all the leave. Leave only the flowering bell-like bracts on the stem. Stake the stems in summer to produce long, straight stems.

Related Articles:

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

How To Grow Tips

How To Grow Tomatoes

How To Grow Peppers

How To Grow Broccoli

How To Grow Carrots

How To Grow Beans

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Peas

How To Grow Lettuce

How To Grow Cucumbers

How To Grow Zucchini and Summer Squash

How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes

Seedling Tomato in pots

Tomato Seed Starting Tips

Seedling Potato

Seed Potato Starting Tips