Understated flowers great in any garden

Nectaroscordum siculum. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Nectaroscordum siculum. Photo: Peter McIntosh
The name alone - Sicilian honey garlic or Nectaroscordum siculum - attracts me to this plant, 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 to be planted in groups. When positioned visibly in the garden, the purple/green/white flowers attract people as well as 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 1m 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 seedheads alone are attractive and can be dried and used in flower displays.

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

Native to the southern Mediterranean and Sicily, it is growing at the Dunedin Botanic Garden in the Mediterranean Garden halfway up the hill.

Growing tips

Nectaroscordum siculum

•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. 

Garden Life is produced by the Dunedin Botanic Garden. For further information contact Dylan Norfield.


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