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Zones A1-A3, 1-45, H1, H2
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Full
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Moderate

Moluccella laevis

Bells-of-Ireland, Shell Flower
Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Annuals

Though its common name implies Irish origin, this plant is in fact native to the Mideast. Grows to 2–3 ft. high and 10 in. wide. Flowers are carried almost from the base in whorls of six. Showy part of flower is a large, apple green, shell- or bell-shaped calyx, very veiny and crisp textured; the small white tube of united petals in the center is inconspicuous. Calyx-blossom spikes are quite attractive and long lasting in either fresh or dried arrangements; be sure to remove the unattractive leaves. Needs loose, well-drained soil. Doesn’t perform well in hot, humid climates. Sow seed in the ground in early spring for summer bloom; in mildest climates, can be sown in fall for winter bloom. Usually grown as a winter annual in the desert. If weather is warm, refrigerate seed for a week before planting. For long blossom spikes, fertilize regularly.

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