Common Name: Virginia bluebells
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Native Range: North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Tolerate: Rabbit, Black Walnut
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, rich soils.
Mertensia virginica, commonly called Virginia bluebells, is a native Missouri wildflower that occurs statewide in moist, rich woods and river floodplains. An erect, clump-forming perennial which grows 1-2' tall and features loose, terminal clusters of pendulous, trumpet-shaped, blue flowers (to 1" long) which bloom in early spring. Flower buds are pink and flowers emerge with a pinkish cast before turning blue. Smooth, oval, bluish green leaves (to 4" long). Foliage dies to the ground by mid-summer as the plant goes dormant.
Genus name honors Franz Carl Mertens (1764-1831), professor of botany at Bremen.
Specific epithet means of Virginia.
No serious insect or disease problems.
Best massed and left undisturbed in moist, shady woodland, wildflower or native plant gardens. Clumps may be sprinkled in borders or rock gardens, but, since plants go dormant in summer, they must be overplanted with annuals or used in conjunction with perennials (as ferns or hostas) which will expand as the growing season progresses.