How to Grow White Lace Flowers

A Long-Blooming and Low-Maintenance Annual

White Lace Flower (Orlaya grandiflora) in a meadow

Katya / Flckr / Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

White lace flowers (Orlaya grandiflora) are hardy, elegant, and low-maintenance annuals. They produce an abundance of delicate pure white flowers that grow in umbels above lush, interesting, grey-green, fern-like foliage.

There are typically around eight to 10 flowers that grow in clusters on each plant. The pattern created by the extending flowering umbels is often said to resemble a lace design, and this is where it gets its common name. They're frequently confused with lace-cap hydrangeas.

White lace flowers have a long flowering period that lasts from early summer until the first frosts arrive. Growing in a compact and bushy form, their tidy growing habits make them a fine choice for small gardens.

Bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects get drawn to this graceful plant, and it slots in well in a variety of settings, including cottage gardens, beds, and borders. The hoverfly is a particular fan of this species, and their larvae can help to keep bothersome pests, like aphids, at bay.

The stems will stay fresh in a vase for up to 10 days, so they're also well suited to cut flower bouquets.

Native to Mediterranean parts of Europe (particularly the island of Crete), they once grew in abundance in vineyards, olive groves, and other dry and warm spots. These days, they're not as common, and you may have to go to a specialist nursery to source the plants or their seeds. Once established, though, the plant does readily self-sow.

Botanical Name Orlaya grandiflora
Common Name White lace flower, Minoan lace
Plant Type Annual
Mature Size Up to 3 ft. tall
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Moist but well-drained
Soil pH Acid, neutral, alkaline
Bloom Time Summer, fall
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 2 - 11, USA
Native Area Europe
Close up of the white lace flower (Orlaya grandiflora)
Karayuschij / Getty Images

Plant Care

White lace flowers are known for being easy-to-grow and low maintenance, provided they get the right conditions. They're drought-tolerant once established and self-seed readily.

Light

Your white lace flowers will prefer a full or part sun position. They don't appreciate too much shade and a warm, south-facing garden is an ideal spot.

Soil

To see the most abundant flowering, white lace flowers should be planted in a well-drained and fertile soil. They can still grow in nutrient-poor soils, but it'll impact on their flowering length and abundance.

It isn't a plant that is particular about pH levels or soil types, and it'll still maintain its pure white blooms in the most acidic conditions.

Water

White lace flowers appreciate regular watering. They don't do well in standing water, however, so it's better to water small and often instead of less frequent deep waterings.

Once established, these plants are relatively drought-tolerant, although their blooming might not be as prolific.

Temperature and Humidity

As you would expect of a plant that is native to the Mediterranean, the white lace flowers prefers warm and dry conditions. If you live in an overly humid or excessively cold region, this won't be the plant for you.

Fertilizer

If you plant your white lace flowers in rich soils, they may not need additional feeding. When grown in nutrient-poor soils, they'll appreciate occasional feeding with a slow-release fertilizer during the growing season.

Pruning

Deadheading and cutting back your white lace flowers during the growing season can extend the bloom period.

Pruning of this annual, however, isn't generally required.

How to Grow White Lace Flowers From Seed

White lace flowers are hardy annuals, so it's possible to sow them in the fall or spring. For best results, however, autumn sowing is recommended. This will result in more robust plants that will bloom earlier.

Make sure you sow the seeds before the first frosts arrive and, if you're expecting a harsh winter, it would be best to sow them in containers that you can bring indoors as the temperatures drop. Of course, if you do this, it's sensible to harden the seedlings off before transplanting them to their outdoor location.

If you want to appreciate white lace flowers blooms well into the fall, you could also sow some seeds indoors in the early spring. You can then transplant them outdoors once the temperatures rise.

Common Pests/Disease

White lace flowers aren't known to have any significant problems with pests and diseases. Because they're so attractive to pollinators, including the hoverfly, this can help to keep pests at bay.