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Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
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Mertensia virginica

Virginia bluebells

Ephemeral ships by Week 22

You know spring has arrived when the pendulous, trumpet-shaped flowers of Mertensia return. Flower buds start off pink and slowly transition to a soft blue as flowers develop. Foliage is smooth, oval, and has an attractive bluish cast. Beautiful when used en masse and left undisturbed. The perfect spring ephemeral for the woodland garden, incorporate with native ferns and sedges. Summer dormant. Best for planting directly into the landscape, as they must root in to return to bloom the following year. These ephemerals are not ideal for finishing in a pot for spring sales.

SIZE
Mertensia virginica LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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Height

18-24 Inches

Spread

12-18 Inches

Spacing

12 Inches

Bloom Color

Blue, Violet

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Virginia bluebells Interesting Notes

You know spring has arrived when the pendulous, trumpet-shaped flowers of Mertensia virginica return. Flower buds start off pink and slowly transition to a soft blue as flowers develop from March to April. Foliage is smooth, oval, and has an attractive bluish cast, growing 18” tall and forming large clumps over time. At it’s most beautiful when used en masse and left undisturbed, Mertensia virginica is the perfect spring ephemeral for the woodland garden, incorporate with native ferns and sedges. It is a plant that requires patience but the carpet of spring blue flowers in the upcoming years makes the effort worth it!


Indigenous to the Mid-Atlantic through to the Mississippi River, this North American native is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. It grows best in rich, moist soil with bright light, preferably at the base of deciduous trees where the canopy covers the foliage as Virginia bluebells go into dormancy in summer.


Virginia bluebells are a spring ephemeral that are summer dormant – foliage dies back to the ground by mid-summer and roots are not active. Plants grow by rhizome or by seed and are tolerant of rabbit browse and sites with black walnut. We ship the plug until early summer, or by week 22, so that plants can get into the ground and establish for next spring. Mertensia virginica is seed grown and does not flower in its first year. These ephemerals are not ideal for finishing in a pot for spring sales.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Moist
Moist
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Early Spring
Early Spring

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Average
Green Infrastructure
Woodland
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative Wetland (FACW)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Attributes
Native to North America
Ephemeral
Propagation Type
Vegetative