image by Eugene Zelenko/Commons.wikimedia.org
Ithuriel's spear, or Triteleia laxa Benth, is in the lily family. It grows naturally in woodlands, grasslands and open forest and is typically between 6 and 12 inches tall. The stem grows from a bulb (or corm) throughout summer; the top portion of the plant dies, which gives energy to the bulb for next year's growth. The flowers bloom from April to June and are typically blue-purple, blue or white. Plant these perennials in the fall.
Choose and prep a planting site that is in full sun or sun to partial shade. Make sure the soil is well-drained without standing water. Use hand tools to loosen up the soil; this will produce better flowers.
Check the soil pH with a test kit purchased from a hardware store or nursery. In their habitat, Ithuriel's Spear is found in clay soil, which tends to have an alkaline pH. Add hydrated lime to the soil to increase pH one point to make it more alkaline. To make it more acidic, add ground rock sulfur (see Resources for measurements).
Dig holes that are 4 inches deep. Place the bulbs (or corms) with the root side down. If you don't know which side the roots are on, place the bulbs on their sides and they will straighten themselves out.
Space the bulbs 3 to 6 inches apart for optimum growing. Cover them with soil and pack it down. Water immediately after planting.
Water the area to keep the ground slightly damp. Touch the soil to see if it's dry; if it is, add water. This will likely mean watering every two to three days. Don't apply too much water or the corms will rot. If your climate gets rain regularly, don't water the bed.
Stop watering when the Ithuriel's Spear leaves turn yellow and dry. Leave the corms alone so they bake in the summer sun. Expect the plants to be well-established after one year.
Separate some of the plants and dig up the bulbs if you want a more controlled growing pattern. Move the dug-up bulbs to another area. Expect the Ithuriel's Spear to multiply easily.