Bells of Ireland, Annual

Avg seeds/pkt 100

Bells of Ireland have unmistakable 3-foot spikes ringed with apple-green calyxes (those bells). They look good in the border, are the perfect cut flower for fresh or dried arrangements, and have a nice familiar smell, like a good aftershave.

Whether sowing indoors or outdoors, first put the seeds on a moist paper towel in a plastic bag or jar in the refrigerator for 14 days. Don’t skip this easy step. Pre-chilling (AKA stratification) to increase germination is right out of Mother Nature’s playbook.
Indoors, 8 weeks before your average last frost date, surface-sow 2 pre-chilled seeds onto moistened seed-starting mix in 3-inch pots (for their young taproots). Do not cover. Seeds need light, moisture, and cool temps (50-60°F) for germination within 3–4 weeks. Thin to 1 plant per pot and give them 16 hours of bright light each day.

From this point on the seedlings need temperatures in the 70s and 80s so wait until 3 weeks after last frost, harden off, and gently transplant 12” apart into average, well-drained soil.

Outside, surface-sow the chilled seeds 3-inches apart, about
2 weeks before last frost and keep moist. Germination may be slow. Thin seedlings to 12 inches apart and feed monthly with compost or slow-release fertilizer.

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