Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Virginia Bluebells
Give a thumbs up Virginia Cowslip
Give a thumbs up Lungwort Oysterleaf
Give a thumbs up Tree Lungwort

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Wet 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
Flower Color: Blue
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


The All Things Plants Top 25 List of Shade Garden PlantsThe All Things Plants Top 25 List of Shade Garden Plants
By dave on May 3, 2014

Let's open Shade Gardens week with a list of the most active entries in our database. Among the thousands of plants that want full or mostly shade, which ones have the most pictures, comments and other details added? Let's find out!

(Full article15 comments)
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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Mar 14, 2012 2:09 PM

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)

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Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Dec 15, 2011 1:12 AM

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.

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Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on Nov 27, 2011 5:19 PM

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.

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Posted by SunnyBorders (Aurora, Ontario - Zone 5b) on Apr 21, 2013 6:49 PM

Very reliable.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
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