Bells of Ireland flowers – also known by their scientific name, moluccella laevis – are one of only four species found in the genus moluccella, which is a member of the family lamiaceae. Despite their name, these flowers are actually native to areas Syria, Turkey and the Caucasus. They bloom up to 3 feet in height as dark green spires, from which apple-green calyxes blossom – which nearly cover up the small, delicate white or pink flowers. These blossoms grow their best in either full sun or partial shade, in well drained, loamy soil. They are also considered rather difficult to transplant, and it is recommended that they be planted directly in the garden.
Bells of Ireland flowers – occasionally referred to as shellflowers – have become very popular in wedding arrangements and as decorations. These blooms are sometimes made into large bridal bouquets; however, they are more frequently combined with contrasting pastel or deeply hued flowers. For a more unique twist, many brides prefer to place bells of Ireland with other exotic-looking blossoms, such as birds of paradise, frangipani or hibiscus. They are also commonly used in smaller bouquets for bridal parties and family members, as well as boutonnieres and centerpieces. Bells of Ireland flowers are also well loved as dried pieces. Given the fact that their stems are hollow, many people insert wires into them after drying, so that they may be placed in vases or decorative pots. They may also be woven into wreaths, baskets, crosses or garlands. This flower is occasionally used to create fragrant pomanders, where the fresh or dried florets are attached to foam spheres, and decorated with tassels and ribbon.
Bells of Ireland flowers are considered to be a very lucky symbol. Bunches of these flowers are frequently presented as gifts to those who are on their way to starting a new life or adventure; they are also given to those who are ill or expecting a new child. They may be presented in the form of a bouquet, pomander or single cut flower; they can be beautifully arranged as both fresh and dried blooms. Although these plants may be presented as a single, potted plant, if you are giving them to a gardening expert, you may choose to give them a packet of seeds instead, so that they may grow these unique flowers themselves.