Disporum cantoniense

Common Name: fairy bells 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Colchicaceae
Native Range: Himalayas, China, southwestern Asia
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White to greenish-yellow
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Heavy Shade


Best grown in organically rich, humusy, consistently moist but well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Best in part shade locations. Plants will slowly spread over time by rhizomes to form colonies, but are not considered to be invasive.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Disporum cantoniense, commonly known as Canton fairy bells, is a clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial that typically grows to 3-5' tall on bamboo-like stems clad with lanceolate leaves (2-6” long). It is native to forests and thickets from Nepal to central and southern China south into Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Small, bell-shaped, white to greenish-yellow flowers bloom singly or in few-flowered umbels at the stem ends in late spring to early summer. Flowers are followed by showy, purple-black berries that ripen in early autumn.

Some authorities are now calling this plant Disporum longistylum.

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 is in reference to Canton, China.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for fungal leaf spots and slugs.


Woodland or shade gardens. Also effective in part shade areas of borders. Containers.