Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells) - Qt SuperPlug


Available April 2021

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One of the most recognizable spring wildflowers, Virginia Bluebells (Also called Virginia Cowslip and Brandywine Bluebells, depending on the local vernacular) are a common species in the Central Hardwoods Region. Ranging from Minnesota to New York, South to Arkansas, Alabama and Virginia, with outliers in New England, Virginia Bluebells are one of the first wildflowers to bloom in April, sometimes Late March in Central Indiana.

Virginia bluebells emerge from the ground in early spring, with strongly purple-hued leaves - This is actually a plant version of antifreeze, protecting the emerging foliage from spring frosts.  Plants grow quickly to size, with bright pink flower buds that change to sky blue as they open.  The flowers are somewhat fragrant, with a sweet floral perfume.

Virginia bluebells spread by seed to form large colonies - A good example of this is the floodplain along Sugar Creek at Turkey Run State Park in West-Central Indiana.  In April, the whole floodplain is a sea of sky blue in the strengthening spring sunlight - A beautiful sight indeed!


Virginia Bluebells are very easy to grow, and will spread by seed even in the garden.  Virginia bluebells are great for early spring color; they are classic spring ephemerals, though, and will go dormant once they've bloomed and set seed.  The best way to manage this is to plant a groundcover that fills in the gaps over the summer; Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera) and Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) are great for this purpose, as are native sedges such as Blue Wood Sedge (Carex flaccosperma) and Plantain-Leaf Sedge (C. plantaginea).

Blooming in Early Spring, Virginia bluebells are a good plant to include for native pollinators.  Bluebells are especially good for native solitary-nesting bees, such as Mason Bees - These docile bees are fairly small, and hardly ever sting.  They are very efficient at pollinating, and are often encouraged to nest with unique "pollinator houses".

Virginia bluebells are somewhat susceptible to deer browse, though they aren't a preferred species.  Rabbits tend to ignore the plants.

How to Grow Virginia Bluebells

Virginia bluebells are very easy to grow, provided the soil remains moist during the Spring when the plants are actively growing.  A spot with deciduous trees is the best, since there's plenty of sunlight early in the season, but the soil is shaded and protected when the plants are dormant over the summer.

Space Virginia Bluebells 12 inches apart, and take care not to disturb actively-growing clumps - They don't transplant well when they're growing, though they're easy to move once they've gone dormant.

We provide Virginia Bluebells in our signature 1-Quart SuperPlugs - These fabric containers yield incredibly dense root systems and vigorous plants that will establish quickly in the garden.  Because Bluebells go dormant, if you order them after May, don't be surprised to get a pot that looks like there's nothing in it!

Common Name: Virginia Bluebells
Botanical Name: Mertensia virginica
Availability: Available June 2020