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Christmas bells

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Chicago gardeners, the plants bearing the name of Christmas signify the symbols of the holiday season. The flowers named Christmas bells look just like their name.

Christmas bells are members of the lily (LILIACEAE) family and belong to the Blandfordia genus. It is a genus of four species. The genus is native to Australia and Tasmania and located in plant hardiness zone 9. This plant prefers acidic, swampy highlands. In Chicago, this species should be grown indoors. B. grandiflora, Christmas bells, and its neighboring species, B. punicea, Tasmanian Christmas bells, are perennials that grow from seed and/or rhizomes. Both plants bloom during the Christmas season.

The species named Christmas bells have thin, linear leaves that grow to 28 inches long. The large flowers grow to almost three inches and are colored red or red and yellow. A stalk bears up to ten blooms. The slow-growing plant reaches two feet in height. It is an endangered species in Queensland, Australia. It’s commemorated in the Australian postage stamp of 1960 and Australia’s Christmas stamp of 1967.

Tasmanian Christmas bells have long, slender leaves that grow to 14 inches. The plant bears up to 24 blossoms colored pinkish red with yellow tips and yellow inside. The plant grows to three feet. It is native to Tasmania, an island southeast of Australia.

Christmas bells can be purchased online from your favorite provider. Seeds or rhizomes should be planted in pots containing sandy, acidic potting soil. The plant needs full light, good ventilation and monthly liquid fertilizer. Water moderately. If the plant becomes dormant, keep it dry.

Adventurous Chicago gardeners might enjoy growing both species of Christmas bells. These members of the lily family will delight with their large, showy flowers.

Live long and well—garden.

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