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Flowers and Seeds Make Shared Show

This article was first published on 18 Dec 2018.

Nectaroscordum siculum

Nectaroscordum siculum

Photo by the Otago Daily Times

The name alone attracts me to want to grow this plant, Sicilian honey garlic or Nectaroscordum siculum.  But the understated flowers make it a great choice for any garden.

That said, this is not a plant to grow on its own; to achieve that wow factor it needs planted in groups.  When positioned visibly in the garden the purple/green/white flowers attract people as well pollinators.

In late spring pointy buds emerge like rockets from strap-shaped leaves.  Over time the buds develop into a flower spike that grows to one metre before erupting into sprays of flower buds, which slowly tip over into nodding bells.  Flowers develop into seed pods which slowly point upwards, until all pods are facing the stars.  Very long lasting, the seed heads alone are attractive and can be dried and used in flower displays.

Once honey garlic have set seed, if the location is good they can tend to seed around. Even though seedlings are easy to remove it is advisable to remove seed heads before the pods open and the plant spreads further.

Growing:

  • Easy to grow in fertile well drained soils.
  • Plant in full sun to partial shade.
  • Disease and pest free.
  • Bulbs bulk up easily and can be lifted and divided in autumn.

Native to Southern Mediterranean and Sicily, it is growing at Dunedin Botanic Garden in the Mediterranean Garden half way up the hill.

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