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Virginia Bluebells

Are you looking for an early-season, shade-loving perennial that has blue flowers and is also a native perennial wildflower? Then Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are an excellent choice to add to your landscape.

Growing in USDA planting zones 3 to 8, these beautiful plants grow best in moist, well-drained, organically rich soils in part to full shade areas. In the early spring, the pink flower buds emerge in drooping clusters and turn a beautiful soft blue as the bell-shaped flowers mature. Bees and other pollinating insects, especially butterflies and moths, visit the flowers for an early source of nectar and pollen.

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are shade-loving, native wildflowers.

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are shade-loving, native wildflowers.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2019 HGIC, Clemson Extension

In the early spring, the pink flower buds emerge in drooping clusters and turn a beautiful soft blue as the bell-shaped flowers mature.

In the early spring, the pink flower buds emerge in drooping clusters and turn a beautiful soft blue as the bell-shaped flowers mature.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2019 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Virginia bluebells grow from 1 to 2 feet tall. The oval leaves are smooth and are green with a purplish-blue tinge. The foliage will go dormant in mid-summer; therefore, incorporate ferns, hostas, and other summer perennials to add interest in the woodland garden later in the growing season. When planted in the proper place, Virginia bluebells will reseed to establish a small colony but are not invasive. These beautiful plants are excellent companions to ferns, hostas, hellebores, Solomon’s seal, and other shade-loving perennials. In addition to adding blue flowers to your garden landscape, bluebells are also deer and rabbit resistant.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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