Disporum lutescens
Common Name: fairy bells 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Colchicaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Heavy Shade


Grow in organically rich, moist, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Best in part shade locations. Spreads by stolons to form colonies.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Disporum lutescens, commonly called fairy bells, is a dwarf rhizomatous perennial that grows in a creeping clump to 10" tall. This is a rare plant that is native only to several mountain sites in Honshu and Kyushu Japan. Bell-shaped yellow flowers (to 5/8" long) bloom in May-June on stems clad with ovate to lanceolate green leaves. Flowers appear singly or in small clusters. 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 means turning yellow in reference to flower color.


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.