General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Plant Height: 15-24 inches
Plant Spread: 12-24 inches
Leaves: Spring ephemeral
Fruit: Other: Fertilized flowers produce four nutlets (seeds).
Fruiting Time: Late spring or early summer
Flowers: Showy
Fragrant
Flower Color: Blue
Pink
White
Other: Most often, pink bud becomes purple, then sky blue when fully open, but some plants have white or pink flowers instead.
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Taproot
Uses: Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: Cold moist treatment for 2 months.
Sow in situ
Other info: Freely self-sows. Transplant carefully, without damaging the taproot.
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Pollinators: Moths and Butterflies
Flies
Bees

Image
Common names
  • Virginia Bluebells
  • Virginia Cowslip
  • Lungwort Oysterleaf
  • Tree Lungwort

Photo Gallery
Photo by Lucichar
Location: Woodbridge , Va
Date: 04-16-17
Location: Merrimac Farm Wildlife Mgmt Area
Date: 2023-04-05

Date: 2013-05-07
Location: central Ohio
Date: April
Location: In my garden, Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens, South Amana, IA
Date: 2010-04-12
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015 04-09
Location: Blaine TN
Date: 2019-04-03
A great year for bluebells
Location: all photos from my garden
Date: 2013-02-19
Location: Zone 5
Date: 2015-05-26
Location: Maine
Photo by TheCreekKid
Location: Blaine TN
Date: 2020-03-21
Location: Maine
Location: My yard in SE Nebraska
Date: May 7, 2011 11:55 AM

Date: 2004-05-08
Location: Plymouth Nursery, Plymouth, MI
Date: 2010-04-18
Location: my front yard
Date: 2005-04-25
Location: Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Date: 2023-03-17

Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: Woodbridge , Va
Date: 17/04/10
leaves and buds emerging through the creeping jenny
Location: Kentucky
Photo by sedumzz
Location: Zone 5 Indiana
Date: 2014-04-17
Virginia Bluebells  Virginia Bluebell’s gorgeous flowers start
Photo by pdermer1x

Date: 2017-04-04
This is the white variant
Location: Fairfax, VA | March, 2023
Date: 2023-03-25
Location: Nettie's Woodland Garden at Willow Valley, Willow Street, Pennsylvania
Date: 2021-03-31
Location: Wilmington, Delaware USA
Date: 2020-04-14
Location: Hiking Trail In Fairfax :-)
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2013-04-18

photo credit:  Dominicus Johannes Bergsma
Location: Nora's Garden - Castlegar, B.C.
Date: 2017-05-14
 5:10 pm. Looking like Art Nouveau porcelain or glass bells.
Location: St Louis
Date: 2011-03-30
Location: Fairfax, VA | March, 2023
Date: 2023-03-25
Location: Plymouth Nursery, Plymouth, MI
Date: 2010-04-18
Location: southeast Ohio
Date: 2016-04-11
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: Apr 13, 2010 4:44 AM
While most are blue I also have pink
Location: Wilmington, Delaware USA
Date: 2020-04-14
Location: Wilmington, Delaware USA
Date: 2020-04-14
Location: IL
Date: 2009-05-06
Location: IL
Date: 2009-05-06

Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: My garden in southeast Nebraska
Date: 2012-03-29
Photo by sedumzz
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: 2012-06-26
Photo by Legalily
Photo by SongofJoy
Photo by SongofJoy
Photo by Mechellet
Location: Plymouth Nursery, Plymouth, MI
Date: 2010-04-18
Location: Plymouth Nursery, Plymouth, MI
Date: 2010-04-18
Location: Plymouth Nursery, Plymouth, MI
Date: 2010-04-18
Location: Fairfax, VA | June, 2022
Date: 2022-06-02
Location: Lucketts, Loudoun County, Virginia
Date: 2015-04-23
Location: Smithfield, KY
Date: 2016-03-31
Location: Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, USA
Date: 2019-04-21
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: Apr 13, 2010 4:43 AM
a rare white
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2016-04-20
Photo by Seedsower
Location: Aurora, On
Date: 2009-05-08
Location: Aurora, On
Date: 2017-05-13
  At Merlin's Hollow
Location: southeast Ohio
Date: 2017-04-12
Photo by sedumzz
Photo by sedumzz
Location: American Horticultural Society River Farm, Alexandria, VA
Date: April, 2008
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2016-10-18
Location: Iowa
Date: 2018-05-08
Location: Brownstown Pennsylvania
Date: 2017-4-22
Location: all photos from my garden
Location: My garden in Kentucky
Date: 2012-03-27
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2012-03-25
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-04-22
still some pink at this stage
Location: Indiana
Date: April 2013
Virginia bluebells (Mertensia Virginica)
Location: Plymouth Nursery, Plymouth, MI
Date: 2010-04-18
Location: central Illinois - South Fork, Sangamon River
Date: 2012-03-25
Colony on forest floor
Location: Aurora, On
Date: 2011-05-18
Photo by gardengus
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: 2016-05-23
Tuberous taproots from one old clump of bluebells
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: Apr 13, 2010 4:43 AM
Most are blue ,some are white and pink
Photo by farmerbell
Location: My Garden
Date: 2013-06-04
Location: My garden in Kentucky
Date: 2012-04-01
Upper right hand corner of photo

Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: My garden in Kentucky
Date: 2006-04-05
Location: My garden in Kentucky
Date: 2006-04-05
Location: My garden in Kentucky
Date: 2005-04-11
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-04-30

Courtesy Gardens in the Wood of Grassy Creek
  • Uploaded by vic

Photo Courtesy of Busse Gardens. Used with permission.
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2012-03-27
South Fork of Sangamon River, central Illinois
Location: South Fork, Sangamon River, cen Il.
Date: 2012-03-25
Location: Brownstown Pennsylvania
Date: 2017-04-22

Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
  • Uploaded by vic
Location: My Garden
Date: 2013-05-29
Location: Tennessee
courtesy Sunlight Gardens, www.sunlightgardens.com
Location: Fairfax, VA | March, 2023
Date: 2023-03-25

Date: 2016-05-12
Location: Plymouth Nursery, Plymouth, MI
Date: 2010-04-18
Location: central Illinois - So. Fork, Sangamon River
Date: 2012-03-25
'sun-kissed' in the wild
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2012-03-25
South Fork of the Sangamon River, cen. Il,
Location: My garden in Kentucky
Date: 2012-03-27
Location: My garden in Kentucky
Date: 2015-04-01
This plant is tagged in:
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Comments:
  • Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Mar 14, 2012 2:09 PM concerning plant:
    A rich moist woodland carpeted with spring-blooming Bluebells is a sight never to be forgotten ... especially when Bluebells are naturalized with daffodils and other spring bloomers.

    Individual plants form a clump of light green oval leaves with several succulent flower stems to about 18 inches in height. Clusters of blue nodding bell-shaped flowers emerge from pink buds. After flowering, the foliage dies down and by June all is dormant underground.

    Given moist rich soil and part shade, Mertensia will naturalize. A lightly shaded area by a stream is perfect. Especially good color combinations with Virginia Bluebells include Columbine, Celandine Poppy, Wild Geranium, Foamflower, Jacob's Ladder, the creeping Phloxes, and Wild Bleeding Heart. (Sunlight Gardens)
  • Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Dec 15, 2011 1:12 AM concerning plant:
    An Illinois wildflower found in moist woods, wooded floodplains, near rivers and streams. Often form dense colonies, carpeting a forest floor. First appearance in March, by midsummer, all is gone.
    Flowers hang in loose clusters from smooth and slender stalks. Trumpet shaped flowers are an inch or so long, initially pink in bud, opening light blue.
    Truly a welcome sight as winter exits the stage.
  • Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on Nov 27, 2011 5:19 PM concerning plant:
    I love this flower! The charming and beautiful blue flowers that bloom in the Spring are a joy to see! I always let them go to seed and I end up with free and more plants every year if they 'like' where they fall.
  • Posted by SunnyBorders (Aurora, Ontario - Zone 5b) on Apr 21, 2013 6:49 PM concerning plant:
    Very reliable.
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dnrevel On April 25, 2023 Plant emerged
Will add photos. With leaf mulch, and being planted by a hydrangea and in a semi-shaded area, it seems pretty happy.
dnrevel On May 16, 2022 Transplanted
Transplanted the rest of the Virginia Bluebells. The ones in red solo cups did the best. Two winter sown jugs had mixed results. One jug did well (6 seedlings), one had only ONE seedling it it.
dnrevel From May 11, 2022 to May 17, 2022 Transplanted
Transplanting from winter sown seed. They seem to be doing well!
dnrevel On March 28, 2022 Seeds germinated
Germinated. Moved some into the new greenhouse to grow further. Note: Added this plant to the Spring Ephemerals list.
dnrevel On January 29, 2022 Seeds sown
Winter Sown in 2 jugs and 6 red cups
antsinmypants On April 28, 2023 Plant emerged
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