How to Grow Stenanthium Plants

Guide to Growing Featherbells, Featherfleece, and Osceola's Plume

Members of the Stenanthium genus are usually grown as hardy bulbs. They reach an height of 60 to 150 cm (two to five feet).

Stenanthium plants bloom in the summer, when they carry large spike that have small white flowers growing from panicals. They have grass like foliage.

Some common names for Stenanthium include Featherbells, Bronze bells, Osceola's Plume, and Featherfleece.

Stenanthium occidentale
Stenanthium occidentale - Bronze bells by Forest Service - Northern Region.

Stenanthium Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Featherbells, Featherfleece, Osceola's Plume, Pine Barren Deathcamas, Crow Poison, Black Snakeroot.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy bulb.
  • Height: 24 to 60 inches (60—150 cm).
  • Native: North America.
  • Growing Region: Zones 7 to 10.

  • Flowers: Late summer.
  • Flower Details: White. Tiny. Panicles.
  • Foliage: Herbaceous. Grass-like.

  • Grow Outside: Usually grown from bulbs.
    Bulbs: 3 to 5 inches (8 to 12 cm). Beginning of spring.
    Seeds: Cover seed. Autumn. Seeds should first be sown into flats. Next sink the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Provide a glass/plastic covering.
  • Sow Inside: Temperature: ~55°F (13°C). Grow in pots for three years until bulbs have substantially developed. Transfer out to their final location following the last frost. Space at 12 to 20 inches (30—50 cm).

  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight or partial shade. Very moist to boggy soil. Regular watering to maintain moisture. Acidic soil. Spring compost mulch. Propagate: by dividing in the autumn.

  • Family: Melanthiaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Bunchflowers.
  • Miscellaneous: Poisonous plant that looks attractive in a wildflower garden. Stenanthium densum is synonymous with Stenanthium leimanthoides and Zigadenus leimanthoides.

How to Grow Featherbells and other Stenanthium Plants

It is best to grow Featherbells, Featherfleece, and other Stenanthium from bulbs. These should be buried at about 10 to 13 cm (4 to 5 inches) deep, at the start of spring.

Stenanthium bulbs should be spaced at about 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches) apart. Locate plants so they can be grown in a sunny or partially shaded part of the garden.

This should have good drainage and a moist acidic soil.

It is possible to grow this plant from seeds. Sow the seeds into flats and lightly cover, sink the flats into the ground in a shaded location, and cover with glass. Germination should take from one month to six months.

Allow the seedlings to grow in situ for one growing season, then transplant to their final location following the last frost of spring.

Caring for Stenanthium

It is fairly easy to care for Stenanthium species in the garden. The ground that they grow in should be composted and mulched in the spring, and they require regular watering. If you require more plants then they can be propagated by division in the autumn.

Common Questions

How many members does the Stenanthium genus have?

The Stenanthium genus includes approximately 8 species, known for their large, feathery panicles of flowers.

Do members of Stenanthium make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Stenanthium species can make beautiful additions to gardens, particularly woodland or prairie style landscapes.

Which Stenanthium species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Stenanthium densum is a popular choice, valued for its tall, feathery plumes of white flowers.

Are members of the Stenanthium plant genus fragrant?

Stenanthium species are not typically known for their fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Stenanthium?

Stenanthium prefer partially shaded areas with moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter.

Is Stenanthium invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Stenanthium species are not considered invasive in the USA. Always consult local regulations for the most current information.

How do I remove Stenanthium plants from my garden?

To remove Stenanthium, carefully dig out the plant, making sure to remove all roots to prevent regrowth.


The Stenanthium plant genus includes perennial plants native to North America. They are admired for their long, wand-like inflorescences with clusters of small, fragrant flowers that bloom in summer.

Grow Stenanthium from seeds or divisions, usually in spring. They prefer partial to full shade and well-drained, humus-rich soil. Regular watering is necessary, particularly during dry periods, but overwatering should be avoided to prevent root rot.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Stenanthium plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Xerophyllum and Veratrum plants.