Prosartes smithii

large flowered fairy bells

  • © www.wikipedia.org - Peter Coxhead

  • © www.wikipedia.org - Miguel Vieira

Synonyms: Disporum smithii

Outstanding Qualities

In early spring thin wiry stems emerge from the ground and branch in lovely layered patterns. The leaves are bright green and mature to a rich dark green. At the end of each branch one to three creamy white flowers are partly hidden in the foliage. Late in summer large conspicuous bright orange-red berries dangle from the tips. A beautiful and interesting native perennial that is easy to grow.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: compact perennial

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 1 ft. 0 in. (0.30 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 1 ft. 0 in. (0.30 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9

Flower Color: white, cream

Sun/Light Exposure: light or open shade to dappled shade

Water Requirements: performs better with occasional watering, but is drought tolerant once established

Seasonal Interest: In fall, this perennial has bright orange-red berries

Wildlife Associations: bees

Resistant to: slug, snail

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Trillium ovatum, Cardamine trifoliata, Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum Group, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, Oxalis oregana evergreen form

Great Color Contrasts: red, silver, white

Great Color Partners: green, orange, red

Culture Notes
This tough native will grow well in light to dappled shade. It prefers a rich, well-drained soil, but will tolerate sand or clay. Once established it will grow best with occasional watering, but can tolerate drought. Once the foliage starts to yellow in fall it can be cut to the ground.