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Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Mertensia virginica

Virginia bluebells

Erect, clump-forming habit
Terminal clusters of pendulous, trumpet-shaped blue flowers
Blooms March through April
Flower buds emerge with a pinkish cast before turning blue
Summer dormant - foliage dies back to the ground by mid-summer

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.

Mertensia virginica LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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18-24 Inches


12-18 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color

Blue, Violet

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Virginia bluebells Interesting Notes

A sure sign of spring’s impending arrival is the masses of bright blue flowers of Virginia bluebells borne above its fresh green foliage. This herbaceous perennial wildflower happily seeds itself in the garden, quickly forming large drifts. Virginia bluebells grow 18" tall and thrives in moist, well-drained soils that are slightly acidic to neutral. They prefer bright sun in early spring followed by shade later as the forest canopy expands. By summer, Virginia bluebells die back to the ground allowing other perennials to extend the gardening season. Plant them with Polystichum acrostichoidesStylophorum diphyllumPhlox divaricata and other woodland wildflowers. - Mt. Cuba Center

Key Characteristics & Attributes

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

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Green Infrastructure
Native to North America
Propagation Type