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Growing Bells of Ireland

By Corey M. Mackenzie ; Updated September 21, 2017

Bells of Ireland flowers are tall flowers that are easy to grow in many climates, but especially those with mild summers. These plants may be started indoors but are easy to start outdoors as well from seed (or seedling). Bells of Ireland require little special maintenance. As long as you plant them in well-aerated (for good drainage) soil and a partly sunny area, they should do well. As these flowers are an annual, the original plants will die off. However, seeds from the plants will remain viable in the soil, often giving your yard fresh Bells of Ireland the following year.

Plant several seeds 1-inch to 2-inches apart in loose soil (indoors or outdoors), where they will get plenty of sunlight. The seeds must be exposed to light to grow, so do not cover them completely.
Frost usually won’t harm the seeds, so even if you are planting them outside, you may do so in early spring. If starting these indoors, do so in late winter and plant the seedlings in spring, when frost is no longer a threat. Keep seeds moist but not sodden.

Thin the seedlings when they emerge from seed (it takes about a month), so they are 1- to 2-feet apart. Be careful not to disturb the roots of neighboring seedlings while doing this. Thinning Bells of Ireland seedlings will prevent overcrowding, helping the remaining plants to grow strong.

Water Bells of Ireland (with a garden hose or sprinkler) each morning, when there is no rain. These plants enjoy damp soil as long as the soil has good drainage--think “rich loam.” Avoid letting the plants stand in water. If, after watering, the soil packs tightly, you may have too much clay in the soil. Add some peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and/or sand to the soil to give the plants better drainage--be careful not to disturb the roots when doing this, however.

Stake the plants when they have grown 1-foot high. Strong breezes may topple them. To stake Bells of Ireland, you can use tomato stakes (found at garden stores). Push the stakes securely into the ground, deep enough so that they won't lean. Tie the stalks (gently) in at least two places, top and bottom, to the stake with soft string or garden ties. Alternatively, if your yard has a fence in a sunny enough area, plant these flowers along the fence and stake them to that, if necessary.


Things You Will Need

  • Bells of Ireland seed
  • Garden hose
  • Stakes


  • If starting these flowers indoors, place them in a sunny window. If this is not possible, you can use a grow lamp, but whatever you choose, the seeds and plants must have light.
  • If your soil is already rich, you shouldn't need to feed the flowers. Otherwise, you can simply fertilize them with just about any fertilizer formulated for flowering plants.


  • Because seeds are somewhat exposed when planted outdoors (they must have sunlight and should not be completely covered), birds may decide to feast on them. If this occurs, you may need to start the seeds indoors.