by Matt Gibson
White lace flower (orlaya grandiflora) is an elegant and delicate flower that blooms atop an attractive plant that’s native to the Mediterranean. It is commonly confused with Queen Anne’s lace, but it’s a distinctly different plant. White lace flower probably tends to get mixed up with Queen Anne’s simply because they both have “lace” in their names, and they are relatives. White lace flower is also sometimes referred to as Minoan lace or French meadow parsley. The hardy annual enjoys a very long flowering period that lasts from early summer all the way to first frost in the fall. The lush, fernlike, finely divided foliage is quite pretty even when the flower is not in bloom and makes the perfect frame for the delicate white blooms, which remind viewers of intricate lace patterns.
Each plant produces a group of eight to 10 blossoms. The flowers are reminiscent of lace-cap hydrangeas, showing small interior florets fully surrounded by a ring of larger petals making a crown. The flower is loved by many birds, bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects, especially hoverflies. Hoverflies are known to feed on common garden pests. Attracting them to your yard is a big bonus, as they’ll help to keep surrounding plants (as well as the lace flowers themselves) free of pests that would plague them.
White lace flower grows up to 24-30 inches in height and about a foot in width. Plant white lace flowers directly into garden beds and borders and are well suited to add to the look of city or cottage gardens. These beautiful blooms are also a welcome addition to flower beds destined for cutting because they perform wonderfully in a vase, enjoying a long 10-day shelf life after being cut.
Varieties of White Lace Flower
There are no alternate varieties of white lace flower. However, as we mentioned, it is a cousin of its lookalike, Queen Anne’s lace. It is a shame that horticulturists haven’t bred some different color varieties into existence as the brilliant and unique white lace blooms would look stunning in different shades as well. However, the white provides a welcome contrast against other vibrant blossoms in your garden plots. For a flower with a similar look and more shades to choose from, try out lace-cap hydrangeas.
Growing Conditions for White Lace Flower
White lace flower enjoys full sun exposure (preferably south-facing) or lightly shaded areas. Though this plant is not too particular when it comes to soil type or pH levels, it does need a nutrient-rich soil for feeding, and it will not tolerate standing water, so a well-drained base and regular watering is a must. Sandy, chalky, or loamy soil are all fine for the hardy annual, as well as a pH ranging from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline and everywhere in between. Though the white lace flower is not too picky about its growing conditions, it can be somewhat of a challenge to raise them from seed. However, once you get the plants acclimated to their preferred conditions and growing strong, they do not require too much additional care.
How to Plant White Lace Flower
Because of the hardiness of this annual, growers have two possible sowing options. You can sow in autumn for stronger plants and earlier blooms in the following year, or you can sow in spring and enjoy blooms until first frost. Our take: Why not do both and have more time to enjoy the fruits of your labor?
Sow the seeds into pots that are at least six inches deep, and bring the containers indoors (or into a greenhouse, if possible) during the winter months in colder areas to avoid killing the plants with frost. However, in warmer climate areas, white lace flower will survive the winter without protection.
When spring rolls around, harden the white lace flower plants off and plant seedlings outside. Place only about half an inch deep into the soil, allowing 1 to 1&½ feet of space between each plant. Allow plants to self-seed, or collect seeds after flowering in order to sow them freshly the following year.
Care for White Lace Flower
Water white lace flower plants regularly, but be careful not to overwater them. Also keep an eye on the drainage conditions in your plots, as white lace does not tolerate standing water from poorly drained soils. No pruning is required for these easy-care blooms, but you will want to deadhead whenever you see flowers start to wilt and fade. Alternatively, you can cut down the flowering stems to about an inch from the ground when the season’s blooms have come to an end. A slow release fertilizer is highly recommended, especially in soils poor in nutrients.
Garden Pests and Diseases of White Lace Flower
White lace flower is generally free from attack by both pests and diseases. Due to the flower’s ability to attract beneficial insects to its blooms, garden pests won’t have much of a chance to do any damage before they become the snack of a larger insect, such as the hoverfly. Along with a host of other beneficial wildlife, the hoverfly is drawn to the white lace flower in particular. Hoverflies are great garden buddies for pest prevention, and they will go a long way toward eliminating pest issues for other plants in the vicinity of white lace flower, too.
Using White Lace Flower for Indoor Bouquets
With an extra-long 10-day vase life, it is no wonder that white lace flower has become a favorite of those who tend cutting gardens. The blooms are a perfect fit in a vase, and they can play any role needed for indoor bouquets. Group white lace flower with other blossoms and greens, feature them as the star of the arrangement, or allow them to shine all by themselves in a slender vase. However you choose to use white lace flower cuttings, you can’t go wrong.
While other cut flowers wilt and fade, the white lace flower continues to prosper and attract the eye with its light, airy lacy blossoms. You can even pluck away the other cut flowers once they start fading and wilting away, and your table centerpiece will still look great with white lace flower left behind, as it can easily double as supporting cast or star of the show at the drop of a hat. Feed and change water regularly for best results.