Plant of the Week: Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

May 5, 2011 — Leave a comment


Patch of Bluebells (after peak bloom)

Close up of Flowers

Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells, Virginia Cowslip, Lungwort Oysterleaf, Roanoke Bells)

Perennial, ephemeral plant (Zones 3-9). Flowers in spring and then disappears by summer.

Light Requirements: Part Sun to Shade

Moisture/Soil: Average moisture. Neutral to slightly acidic soil.

Blooms: Mid spring. Lasts for a couple of weeks.

Leaves: Blueish-green oval shaped

Size: Height: 18″‘  Width: 6-12″

Additional Info:These are native to the eastern part of the US. I have tried to plant them in several clumps. I have move the poor things a couple of times now, so I haven’t had much self seeding yet (hopefully this year). I still need to find a plant to fill in for later in the summer and fall to take their place after they die back (maybe ferns although mine are placed in a part sun location). They would look beautiful with Bleeding Hearts (similar bloom time and habit of dying back). I planted mine from bare roots that I bought on ebay. They didn’t come up the first year so I thought they died, but sure enough the next spring the popped up!

Pros: Beautiful native plant.

Cons: It dies back quite quickly and you may forget where it is planted. Fortunately they always seem to return. They sometimes need staking.

Origin: Eastern U.S.

Varieties: I don’t know of any.

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