Disporum longistylum ‘Night Heron’

Chinese fairy bells

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This sleek, sophisticated, evergreen perennial will add a mystique to your landscape. In spring dark black-purple stems rise like asparagus from the soil, reaching heights of 4 to 6 feet tall. Each lustrous stem develops gracefully arching side shoots, giving an exotic, bamboo-like appearance. In April clusters of pale, chartreuse-yellow flowers nestle among the chocolate-purple leaves on each branch tip. By late May the foliage matures to a shiny, purple tinted deep green, remaining wonderfully evergreen, seemingly oblivious to winter, until the new growth starts next spring. This intriguing Northwest selection was made by noted plant explorer, Daniel J. Hinkley, from seed collected from Sichuan, China (under the number DJHC 739). Disporum cantoniense 'Night Heron' makes an unusual and dramatic statement as a container plant. Use it to create a vertical element in perennial border. 'Night Heron' looks good with Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa), as their flowers appear at the same time and are the same yellow-green shade.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: perennial

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 9

Flower Color: yellow

Sun/Light Exposure: light or open shade

Water Requirements: regular watering

Wildlife Associations: bees

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: purple, variegated, silver

Great Color Partners: black, dark green

Culture Notes
Chinese fairybells grows best in light or open shade. Avoid locations with hot afternoon sun. If ‘Night Heron’ is grown in too much shade, the purple coloring will fade quickly and the stems will not stand upright. Provide rich well-drained soil in an area that receives regular summer watering. Although the stems and leaves are evergreen, they gradually decline as winter wears on. Cut them to the ground in late February to highlight the new growth.
Geek Notes
Formerly Disporum cantoniense 'Night Heron'.