Uvularia Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

Article by Dean Ravenscroft, Ph.D. - Updated 27th Oct 2023

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Uvularia plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

At a Glance: Uvularia
  • Plant Characteristics: Uvularia features delicate, bell-shaped yellow flowers that dangle gracefully. Their unique appearance and woodland charm can be a whimsical addition to any garden.
  • Ideal Growing Conditions: Thrives in partial to full shade and prefers well-drained, humus-rich soil. A spot mimicking their natural woodland habitat is ideal.
  • General Care: Keep soil consistently moist, but avoid waterlogging. A layer of mulch helps retain moisture and will also help to provide essential nutrients.
  • Tips for New Gardeners: Bellwort is suitable for beginners as it has minimal challenges. Ensure the plant has ample shade and grows in a rich soil. Limit exposure to direct sunlight, especially during peak hours.

Bellwort, Merrybells, Wild Oats: Cultivation & Garden Use

Members of the Uvularia genus are hardy perennials that range in height from 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 inches) in height. They have drooping leaves and bloom in the springtime. The flowers of Uvularia species are drooped bells of yellow.

Some common names for Uvularia species grown in the garden include Cowbells, Merry Bells, Wood Daffodil, and Bellwort.

Uvularia grandifloria
Uvularia grandifloria - Large-flowered Bellwort by wackybadger.

How to Grow Cowbells and other Uvularia Plants in the Garden

If you are planning to grow cowbells (Uvularia plants) from seed then start outdoors at the end of summer from fresh seed.

Seeds should be sown into flats and lightly covered once sown. Sink the flats into a shady area and cover with glass; keep soil moist.

The germination time of Uvularia ranges from one to six months. Once strong enough transplant the cowbell to their final location at the end of spring.

Ideally Uvularia should be spaced from 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) apart (dependent upon the size of species).

Cowbells prefer to grow in shady or partially shaded areas of the garden that have a rich and acidic woodland soil (pH 5 to 6) which is moist.

Caring for Uvularia

Plants of the Uvularia genus such as cowbells, Wood daffodils and Merry bells are easy to look after. They like a moist soil so keep well watered.

Being a woodland plant they like shade, especially their roots, so ensure that cowbells always have a good mulch of leaf mold. If you require more plants then propagate cowbells by division in the spring.

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Uvularia Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Bellwort, Bellflower, Cowbell, Wood Daffodil, Merrybell
  • Life Cycle: Hardy Perennial
  • Height: 18 – 24 inches (45 to 60 cm)
  • Native: North America
  • Growing Region: 3 to 9
  • Flowers: April, May
  • Flower Details: Bells, Drooping
  • Foliage: Alternate, Perfoliated.
  • Sow Outside: Late Summer using fresh seed. Cover seed. Sow in flats in a shaded area. Seed takes up to six months to germinate. Cover with glass until seedlings emerge. Keep soil moist. Transplant in the summer at about 6 inches (15 cm) for small species, to 12 inches (30 cm) for larger Uvularia pant species.
  • Sow Inside: No
  • Requirements and care: Maintain a moist soil. Keep soil cool by supplying a mulch. Water during prolonged dry spells. Propagate by division at the start of spring in cold areas or in the autumn in warmer areas.
  • Family: Colchicaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Ornithoglossum, Gloriosa, Colchicum.
  • Miscellaneous: Named from the latin ūvula (Little Grape).

Common Questions

How many members does the Uvularia genus have?

The Uvularia genus, also known as Bellwort, comprises approximately 5 species.

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

Yes, Uvularia species are appreciated for their bell-shaped flowers yellow flowers that appear in the spring. They're excellent for woodland gardens or shaded borders.

Which Uvularia species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown species are Uvularia grandiflora, known as the Large-flowered Bellwort, and Uvularia sessilifolia, the Sessile-leaved Bellwort or Wild Oats plant.

Are members of the Uvularia plant genus fragrant?

Uvularia species are not typically known for their fragrance, but their delicate, bell-shaped flowers are quite attractive.

What is the perfect location to grow Uvularia?

Uvularia prefers partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil. They're a good choice for woodland gardens or shaded borders.

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

Currently, Uvularia is not known to be invasive in the USA. Always refer to local regulations for accurate information.

How do I remove Uvularia plants from my garden?

To remove Uvularia, uproot the entire plant including the root system to prevent regrowth.


The Uvularia plant genus is a part of the Colchicaceae family. It comprises about five species of perennial plants native to North America.

Uvularia plants grow well in partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. They can be propagated from seeds sown in fall or by division in spring. Known for their bell-shaped yellow flowers, they are commonly found in woodland gardens.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Uvularia. You may also enjoy the following Colchicaceae family growing guides: How to grow Bulbocodium and Gloriosa lily plants.

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