Ipheion uniflorum 'Greystone'
Item #: 8519
Zones: 6b to 9b, at least
Dormancy: Summer, Fall
Height: 8" tall
Origin: Argentina, South America
This selection of Ipheion uniflorum comes from the NC garden of the late plantsman Norman Beal, who selected it for its large, pure white flowers. For us, the clumps of waxy grey-green foliage are topped in March and early April (NC) with stalks of white flowers that obscure the foliage. By late May, Ipheion 'Greystone' has gone dormant for the summer. We recommend dividing the clumps every 3-5 years and either sharing with your neighbors or starting a nursery...just kidding. A horticultural circumcision in late spring, a la Lorena Bobbitt, will prevent unwanted offspring.
Once planted Spring Starflower requires no maintenance. However every few years the clumps can be divided and replanted to form larger masses for bigger and better displays in the garden. This can be done most anytime though the best time might be after bloom. Dig a clump up and divide into as many clumps as desired, from one bulb to clumps of many bulbs. Replant and water in. Done after bloom the foliage will likely die away quicker than it would if left undivided. No worries here as it will definitely return next fall.
Ipheion are summer dormant and will tolerate drought during its dormant period. They resume growth in the fall and grow through the winter months into spring. At this time they need moisture and at least part day sun. They will thrive in full sun. Avoid poorly drained soil. They don't need sharp drainage, just average drainage.
As Ipheion grows through the winter months it is an excellent plant to fill spaces that are vacated in the winter by large herbaceous perennials such as crinums and hibiscus or under deciduous shrubs. Thus two different plants occupy the same space, subletting it during opposite growing seasons; the frost-tolerant Ipheion during the winter growing season and the others during the frost-free growing season. Twice as much ornamental display is thus created in the same space by using this method.
Ipheion is of great value for the time of the year that it blooms, late winter into early spring, and for the length of time that it is in bloom, at least 6 weeks, producing a long succession of flowers. Blue is the typical color of both Ipheion uniflorum and Ipheion perigrinans and it is a true blue and perhaps of greater value for being this hue. The white and pink flowered selections are also very beautiful. Single clumps are quite lovely but larger masses or drifts have far more impact.
The foliage of Ipheion is garlic-scented like its Allium relatives and usually not grazed by deer or rabbits.
Flower Color: White/Cream
Leaf Color: Green
Container Role: Fillers