One sure sign of spring are the blooms of Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica). Soft, pale green leaves that are flat and wide along slender stems that arch up and out give way to blossoms that transition from the softest of pale pinks to blues and purples. Virginia bluebells blooms in March and April in the shade or part shade garden, making them ideal for a deciduous woodland setting. By summer the leaves die back as the trees’ canopy above fills in and the plant goes into dormancy. Give this plant moist, well draining soil that is organic rich.
We are smitten with this woodland flower for it is so easy to grow, in fact we do nothing for it! Its soft colors are a gentle coaxing into spring, just before the bright and often more garish colors of the summer garden take hold.
In the wild you will find large stands of the native plant in rich woodlands where the soil is nutrient-rich, such as along rivers and streams.
Planting Companions Since this is a spring ephemeral, it is ideally suited for a plant partner such as hostas which come into their full glory as the Virginia bluebells are exiting the show. Select a small to medium size hosta and give them generous space to spread. The less you have to dig to divide hostas around any wildflower that you want to naturalize, the better.
USDA Zones: 3-8