Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica

Virginia Bluebells

Mertensia virginica

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Spring
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Moist, Medium
Color: Blue, Lavender
Fragrance: No
Height: 1-2 feet
Spacing: 1 foot

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) is a native wildflower that occurs statewide in moist, rich woods and river floodplains. An erect, clump-forming perennial which grows 1-2 feet tall and features loose, terminal clusters of pendulous, trumpet-shaped, blue flowers (to 1 inch long) which bloom in early spring. Flower buds are pink and flowers emerge with a pinkish cast before turning blue. Smooth, oval, bluish green leaves (to 4 inches long). Foliage dies to the ground by mid-summer as the plant goes dormant. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring, lasting about 3 weeks. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by 4-lobed fruits (schizocarps), which contain the nutlets (4 nutlets per flower). The small nutlets are dark brown, ovoid, and flattened on one side. Their surfaces are minutely wrinkled or pitted. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant often forms colonies.

Habitats include floodplain woodlands, bottomland woodlands, mesic woodlands, and wooded bluffs. Sometimes this wildflower forms sizable colonies in semi-shaded floodplain areas along rivers or streams. It is also cultivated in flower gardens.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, rich soils.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Plants go dormant in summer.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
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 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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