Disporum sessile 'Variegatum'
Common Name: fairy bells 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Colchicaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Heavy Shade


Grow in moist, organically rich, acidic, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Best in part shade locations.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Disporum sessile is a rhizomatous fairy-bells that grows in a creeping clump to 12-24" tall, but spreads sometimes aggressively by rhizomes to 36" or more. Generally erect bamboo-like stems are clad with ovate to lanceolate leaves (to 2-6" long) that are sessile (stalkless). Leaves are medium green. Drooping, narrow, tubular, bell-shaped, greenish-white flowers (to 1" long) appear singly or in small clusters (usually 1-3) at the stem ends in April. Flowers from established clumps often produce a showy display. Flowers give way to black berries that ripen in late summer. Lance-shaped leaves and plant habit are reminiscent of the related Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum), except fairy bell flowers are terminal and Polygonatum flowers come from the leaf axils.

Genus name comes from the Greek words dis meaning two and spora meaning seed for the two ovules in each chamber of the ovary.

Specific epithet refers to the leaves being sessile (stalkless).

'Variegatum' features variegated leaves that brighten shady areas of the landscape. Leaves are medium green attractively streaked and edged with white.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for fungal leaf spots and slugs. Soil barriers to prevent unwanted rhizomatous spread may be appropriate.


Woodland or shade gardens. Also effective in part shade areas of borders. Will spread to form a colorful variegated ground cover for shady areas.