Starflowers will light up spring lawn

Starflowers make a nice carpet in the spring lawn. Photo by Kathie Rowell.

Starflowers make a nice carpet in the spring lawn. Photo by Kathie Rowell.

Classifying spring starflowers as a minor bulb seems like a major insult to such a pretty flower.

Starflowers (Ipheion uniflorum) are petite bulbs that send up grassy foliage and dainty, blue blooms in spring.

I love them.

But unlike tulips and daffodils, which are such wonderful show-offs that you can appreciate them from a distance, starflowers are best viewed up close. They’re perfect for tucking into a small space or naturalizing in the lawn. (Bonus: Whoever mows the grass at your house won’t mind because the foliage doesn’t get very tall and dies away by summer so it’s never unsightly.)

Because they multiply by both offsets and seeds, it doesn’t take long for just a few bulbs to make a nice stand.

Starflower Wisley Blue. Photo by Kathie Rowell.

Starflower Wisley Blue. Photo by Kathie Rowell.

Originally from South America, starflowers found a home in the South, although you have to pay attention to see them. I first saw them in the yard of an older home on the edge of Texarkana. I didn’t know what they were, but had to find out. Once I did, an order went out for Wisley Blue, which is an improved variety that is supposed to be a little more intense blue than the species.  White versions are also available.

I sprinkled them into the lawn near a pink flowering cherry tree and white narcissus. Some years, they are all in bloom at the same time, which gives my yard the frilly pink and blue and white look of a baby shower.

Now, I want to move some to the backyard. Which should be easy. These bulbs are so accommodating that you can move them even while they’re in bloom, although it’s best to wait until the foliage dies down before digging and dividing.

Minor bulb?

Nope. Major charmer.

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