A flower that looks like an Umbrella…Really?
Yup. If you’ve passed these by before, these cool flat flower heads make excellent cut flowers and last quite a long time in a vase.
The umbel flower to the left is the very delicate looking Queen Anne’s Lace (aka: false Queen Anne’s lace or Bishops lace.) I really love the way it looks all by itself in a vase. But it also looks great as a bouquet mixed with summer blooming flowers like cosmos and dahlias.
You may want to grow them yourself…
To give you an idea just how prolific and widely naturalized these flowers are take a look at the photos of some of my recent June and July encounters. (You’ll likely find Queen Anne’s lace grows & has naturalized where you live, too)
What is a an Umbel?
An umbel is an inflorescence which consists of a number of short flower stalks (called pedicels) which spread from a common point, somewhat like umbrella ribs. – Source: Wikipedia
The Pollinators love them!
You can see that these flat flower heads provide excellent refuge for moths and butterflies; insects really love them too.
Growing Carrot Family Umbels in your Garden or Container
The good news is that umbel plants from the carrot family (Apiaceae) come in a range of sizes with choices suited to different soil and light types. Some plants are best suited to dry soils; others, wet soils… even dry shade and wet shade! Here is some info for you:
If you Have a Dry Garden
1. Orlaya – You can buy this 4″ plant online at Annie’s Annuals or Orlaya seeds on Amazon
2. Fennel (Ferrula communis)
3. Queen Anne’s Lace
These annuals will reseed. Native to the dry parts of southern Europe and the Mediterranean, they will do best in poor, gravely, dry soils in full sun.
Queen Anne’s Lace (Ammi majus) – Very easy to grow, try it with other annuals to create a meadow-like planting. This plant prefers an open, sunny place and flowers freely from early summer.
Cut Flower: Last for 7-10 days. Strip all the bottom leaves, and some higher to keep them from yellowing before flowers age.
To Grow: Start with a young plant or buy seeds. (I’ve included my Amazon link to their selection.)
To learn more about growing this plant, I found this article helpful!
Fennel (Ferrula communis) – This plant is edible and can grow to be very tall (13 feet) if given sunny well drained conditions.
If you Have a Tough Site: (Dry Shade, Wet Shade, Exposed Conditions)
If you have an exposed site with poor but well drained soils try, Bupleurum fruticosum ‘Shrubby Hair Ear.‘ Not sure what to do with moist shade? Try, Anthriscus sylestris ‘Ravenswing.’ If you have the other challenge, dry shade, consider: Myrrhis odorata; this delicate looking plant apparently thrives in dry shade below trees.
Umbel flowers for your late summer and fall border? Look for perennial, Selinium wallichianum.
We shot this 50 second video to show you a live example.
And finally, read this article a friend sent to me about purple carrots and purple flowering umbels. You’ll want to grow these!!!
ps: Though some may be hard to find. Buying seeds is what is most readily available. If you are looking to buy Amazon has some good reviews. For the other choices mentioned, I would do a specific search and see which seed companies come up. **Note: due to the invasive nature of the plants mentioned, I’ve removed all of my Amazon links. I am definitely getting the purple carrots to try next year to grow as flowers.