By Nikki Phipps
Ipherion bulbs may be unfamiliar to some, but their dainty plants can create a big impact in the garden. Read on to learn more about growing and caring for spring starflowers.
Spring Starflower Plants
Spring starflower, Ipherion uniflorum, is a native of South America in areas of Peru and Argentina. The plant is a vigorous, clump-forming (bulbous) perennial that has onion-like leaves and uniquely shaped, white or blue-violet fragrant flowers that resemble stars.
These dainty spring-blooming charmers grow 6-8 inches. This low growth makes spring starflower ideal for use as ground covers or as an attractive edging for beds and borders. Alternatively, spring starflowers can be planted in drifts, tucked throughout rock gardens, or placed along wooded paths. They also make lovely additions when grown in containers, either beneath tall-growing plants or massed by itself.
Great companion plantings for the spring starflower include:
- Sweet alyssum
Spring Starflower Care
The spring starflower prefers sun but can adapt to partial shade. Although soil offering good drainage is preferable, starflowers will tolerate poor soil too but cannot tolerate wet soil. Ipherion bulbs should be planted in the fall approximately 2-3 inches deep.
The spring starflower naturalizes quickly, forming colonies, and spreads by self-seeding and bulb offsets. Because of this, spring starflower plants may become invasive, so be sure to plant them where they can be easily controlled.
This delicate-looking flower is one of the easiest bulbs to grow, requiring little care once established, apart from regular watering during the growing season.
Spring starflower can be easily propagated by lifting and separating its bulbous offsets, though it often performs better when left somewhat crowded and can be left in the ground for many years. On average, spring starflowers will normally thrive beautifully for about 4-5 years before needing division. The bulbs can be dug up after the foliage has died down.
While the beautiful, star-shaped blooms and bluish-green, grass-like foliage put on quite a show in the spring, this plant also produces thick patches of grass in fall and winter, making it attractive year round.
The spring starflower’s only drawback is the onion-like smell it emits when the foliage is bruised. This odor, however, does at least repel most animal pests.