Bluebells-My Favorite Native Wildflower

One of the most beautiful species of spring ephemerals are Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica).  Perennial Ephemerals simply mean they appear in all their glory for several weeks and then disappear from sight to go underground and reappear next spring.

Virginia Bluebells are relatives  of more familiar species -Lungworts, Comfrey, and Forget-Me-Nots – and are so easy to grow that I wonder why more people don’t plant them.

Bluebells are related to the perennial Forget-me-not, Brunnera
Virginia Bluebells

Bluebells enjoy rich, well-drained soils where they can form large colonies over time. And not that much time! I have colonies that are 5 years old and they are quite thick already. The flowers start off pink and gradually turn over to their fabulous shade of lilac light blue as they mature.

Bluebells start out pink

A native perennial that everyone should have, it thrives in shade, partial sun, or full sun in my garden – and in regular garden soil. They appreciate a little more moisture, but I have never watered them or babied them. Bees, especially female Bumblebees that fly in early spring, will often be seen visiting the flowers. Perching on the rim of the flower, the bees plunge into the trumpet shaped flower to gather nectar. Lasting for many weeks in early spring, April and May, Bluebells go dormant by early summer, totally disappearing – foliage and all. Because of that characteristic, you can plant annuals where the Bluebells have disappeared to get later summer color.

Bluebells are wonderful in spring arrangements

The clumps grow up to 2 feet tall and about a foot wide, but die back to the ground by early summer as the plant goes dormant shortly after flowering and setting seed. Beginner gardeners think that they killed the plant, only to be surprised the following year when the Bluebells emerge suddenly even more vigorously.

Mature clump of Virginia Bluebells
I think that Bluebells are great cut flowers, but many websites say they are not

5 Replies to “Bluebells-My Favorite Native Wildflower”

  1. Bluebells will naturalize by seed very easily, especially if planted at the top of a slope. The seed basically just dtops, so the slope helps distribute. Look carefully for the bright green leaves of the seedlings just as the parent plant begins to bloom.

  2. My favorite as well and I posted about them to day too. I had read they were poor cut flowers so many times I never tried but will bring some in first thing in the morning! Thank you!

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