Virginia bluebells

Mertensia pulmonarioides

Photo/Illustration: 
Jennifer Benner
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Virginia bluebells (Mertensia pulmonarioides)
mer-TEN-see-ah pull-mon-ar-ee-OY-deez
Synonyms:  Mertensia virginica
Genus:  Mertensia

This clump-forming perennial has light blue to purplish blue pendulous flowers that open from pink buds atop 16- to 24-inch stems in mid- to late spring. Elliptic to ovate, hairless, bluish green leaves yellow and die back once the flowers fade after about 10 days.

Noteworthy Characteristics: 

Virginia bluebells can carpet a spring woodland.

Care: 

Prefers loamy soil in a location with midday shade.

Propagation: 

Divide clumps carefully as new growth commences in spring. Take root cuttings when dormant.

Problems: 

Young growth may be damaged by slugs or snails. Powdery mildew, rust, and leaf smut.

Overview

Height
1 ft. to 3 ft.
Spread
6 in. to 12 in.
Light
Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture
Dry to Medium
Maintenance
Low
Characteristics
Native,
Showy Flowers
Bloom Time
Spring
Uses
Beds and Borders
Style
Woodland Garden
Seasonal Interest
Spring Interest
Type
Perennials

Mertensia pulmonarioides