How to Grow Virginia Bluebells
The Virginia Bluebells is one of the most delightful flowers in the early Spring garden. A low-growing perennial that’s hardy, content with average soil in semi-shade or full sun, requires no special skill to cultivate and is not bothered with insects. How to Grow Virginia Bluebells!
This lovely perennial of the borage family has large smooth light green leaves and clusters of blue, bell-shaped flowers. If you want early spring clusters of blue, check out the full article at the link below…
Too few gardeners know or grow Mertensia virginica, the Virginia Bluebell. Yet, it is an early, low-growing perennial that’s hardy, content with average soil in semi-shade or full sun, requires no special skill to cultivate and is not bothered with insects.
Mertensia virginica has a purple tube and blue bells and there’s a variety (rubra) that is pink. A combination of these two against the dense, deep greens of foundation plantings is a sight that’s delicate and rare.
Used for edging driveways, walks and perennial beds, Virginia blue-bells are lovely. But loveliest of all are these flowers planted against ferns or when grown in great, rich masses. For arrangements, my favorite combination is bluebells, blue and pink, with daffodils.
Mertensia virginica, along with most other varieties of Virginia Bluebells are perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Half Sun / Half Shade, Full Shade
Mature Size of Virginia Bluebells
- Height: 18-24 (45-60 cm)
- Width: 18-24 (45-60 cm)
Using Twinleaf in Garden Design
The Virginia Bluebells is one of the most delightful flowers in my garden in early Spring. This lovely perennial of the borage family has large smooth light green leaves and clusters of blue, bell-shaped flowers.
The buds are first deep blue, almost purple, then pink, after which the softest caerulean bluebells open. As they fade they are again a lovely pink. Some of mine were actually pink when at their prime. I thought, perhaps, it was something in the soil, but I have since discovered is was the pink variety, rubra.
Mertensia is a native wild flower in Missouri. No doubt there are hundreds of places where they grow wild, but we have only found two. Both of these wonderful colonies were growing at the feet of steep bluffs some miles apart.
One was near Fern’s Bluff, a few miles from Calhoun, the other back of a country church, southeast of Windsor. Both plantings grew among wild ferns in very light shade near a creek. In the wild these plants grew much taller and broader than the two-foot-high specimens in my garden.
The bluebells foliage dies down completely soon after flowering, so it is well to grow a cover plant. Nature does this with ferns, but ferns will not endure my garden conditions as the bluebells do, so I use low Hostas nearby, or shallow-rooted annuals.
Mertensia virginica prefers a moist, partly shaded location, with a soil well supplied with humus. Those in moist, rich woodland, along streams, make wider colonies year after year. They will endure hot, dry locations in full sun for years, but will die out in time.
Virginia Bluebells – Early Spring Clusters of Blue
Although I have never grown a white variety, some of my friends have, and call the pure white variety “Snow Bell.”
While the soil is cool, they bloom the second or third year, depending upon how well they grow. I find it almost impossible to save seeds from my own plants because they shatter so quickly, but if left undisturbed, seedlings will come up all around the “mother plant.”
My favorite planting of Mertensia bluebells surrounds a pink double-flowering almond bush, with golden Phoenix daffodils and early pink tulips nearby.
Grown under lilacs, with a drift of daffodils and low scillas or Muscari comosum monstrosum in front, bluebells are breathtaking. Among ferns, north of a house, providing the soil is right, they are also lovely, but the most charming combination of all is with the pure white flowers of Trillium grandiflorum.
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