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Herbaceous Perennial

Disporum cantoniense

Canton fairy bells

D. cantoniense is a clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial to 90cm tall or more, bearing lance-shaped leaves to 12cm long on arching stems. Tubular purplish-red, brownish-red or creamy-white flowers in clusters on short stalks in late spring and early summer, followed by dark-red berries in autumn

Other common names
Chinese fairy bells
Synonyms
Disporum pullum
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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Loam
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Brown Cream Purple Red White Green
Summer Brown Cream Purple Red White Green
Autumn Green Black Red
Winter
Position
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or North–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H3
Botanical details
Family
Colchicaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Genus

Disporum are rhizomatous perennials with alternate leaves on sparsely branched stems, and solitary or clustered, nodding bell-shaped flowers in the leaf axils, followed by berries

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Himalaya to Java

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How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in cool moist, well-drained humus-rich soil in a very sheltered shady position; protect with a dry winter mulch. Grow in a cool greenhouse in frost prone areas

Propagation

Propagate by seed in containers in a cold frame in autumn. Divide in spring before or as growth begins

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Gravel garden
  • Coastal
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

cut down old stems in late winter

Pests

slugs and vine weevil may be troublesome

Diseases

Generally disease free

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