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- Virginia Blue Bell-Mertensia virginica Hardy Planting Zones- 3-9 Sun or Shade – Part to Full Shade Mature Height - 18-24" Mature Width- up to 24" Bloom Season – Spring (May) Gardener Status- Beginner
The Virginia Bluebell is also known as Mertensia Virginica. It is an appropriately named fast-growing wildflower that is native to Missouri. This perennial is home to blue bell-shaped flowers; each flower has five petals that are bonded together to form its famous bell shape. Additionally, each flower is roughly one-inch long. It is interesting to note, that each of the flowers on this plant starts out pink in color, but, over time they turn a brilliant shade of blue, giving them their name. The leaves on the Virginia Bluebell are four-inches long, oval, smooth, and are a bright gray-green color. The plant grows in clumps and can get up to 2 feet tall and roughly 1.5 feet wide.
The Virginia Bluebell primarily grows during the spring, April and May, in rich wooded areas and river floodplains; by summer the plant dies off and goes dormant until the following spring. Before it goes dormant, the Virginia Bluebell produces just four seeds. This plant thrives best under partly to fully shaded areas where a moderate amount of moisture is received and in soil that is well-drained.
Large bees, particularly female bumblebees are often seen flying around these flowers in the spring; however, only the largest bees are able to work their way up the tube portion of the flower. Even though bumblebees are frequently seen around the plant in early spring, moths and butterflies are the primary participants in pollinating these beautiful plants.
The Virginia Bluebell looks beautiful in wildflower and native plant gardens. Additionally, these flowers can be used as a naturalization plant in corners or as a backdrop to other flowers. However, it needs to be kept in mind that the Virginia Bluebell doesn’t bloom all year, it is best to plant them by annuals, late-blooming perennials, or ferns.
Bluebell is a plant that is native to North America and can be found all across the country. Although it will grow in various types of soil, it prefers fertile, moist soils with good drainage. The blooms on this plant will appear very early in spring months of March to April and last through midsummer. The bloom is a very light bluish color that hangs in clusters from the plant and looks like tiny bells. The leaves are very long and a brilliant green. It is a vigorous plant with healthy roots as it grows.