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What are these and is it worth keeping the bulbs that didn't flower?

I can't find these in any of my books so hope someone knows what they are. The foliage comes up several weeks before they flower and it looks really messy. Then suddenly these lovely star shaped flowers come out but only when it's sunny.

I intend to dig some up once they've finished flowering because there are just way too many, but is it worth keeping any that didn't flower? Also, because the leaves just look really untidy I'd like to trim them back after flowering, but I assume I should really leave them for a while?




  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Those look like Ipheion uniflorum, possibly 'Wisley Blue'.  The leaves will smell a bit oniony if rubbed between your fingers.  Like all bulbs, you need to let the foliage die back naturally to feed the bulb so it can produce flowers next year.  If you trim it all off now, you may only get foliage next year and few flowers.

    I plant other plants at this time of the year to help hide untidy bulb foliage while it dies back.  By doing that now, you know where the bulbs are so don't tend to 'trowel to death' so many ! image

    Last edited: 03 June 2017 14:23:51

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,154

    I think they're ornithogalum, Star of Bethlehem. Pretty flowers, later than other similar bulbs and very tatty before flowering is over. Quick to multiply as well, maybe a bit too quick

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Nut is right - Ipheion would be over by now, thinking about it. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,881

    I agree with Nut. Look at the centres.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Can't see the centres on the computer I'm using today, Lyn!image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,437

    Ornithogalum......if you zoom in you can see the green stripe on the back of the petals.

    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • That's exactly it, ornithogalum umbellatum. And the genus is in my rhs flowers book but not that variant, which is why I hadn't found it. Thank you all so much!

    A quick Google says it's in the Bach flower remedies for shock or great distress, so maybe I should keep a few to hand for when life gets tricky...

    They​ do spread like mad so maybe what I'll bring is move some to other parts of the garden. These are by the front door, and though my garden is far from formal, I'd prefer something less messy to greet visitors.

    I think they'd probably look ok naturalised in grass, and I have a slope where they'd be ok, and might even help in the war against the weeds that are naturalised there!

    Thanks again all image

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