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Native Plant of the Week: Virginia Bluebells

Family: Boraginaceae


Name: Mertensia virginica - Virginia Bluebells


Bloom Time: April - May


Flower: Pink buds open to reveal blue flowers


Soil Condition: Moist, Rich


Light: Partial shade to full shade


Height: 12-24" tall by 12-18" wide


Native Range: Native to eastern North America including Long Island


Zone: 3 to 8

This lovely spring ephemeral brightens up moist and shady areas of the landscape. The pale green leaves and pastel pink and blue flowers are very soothing to the eye.Its long blooming season of about three weeks is great for early pollinators like mason bees. If they are happy they will self-seed and form an impressive colony.


Maintenance: Virginia Bluebells go dormant in the heat of the summer. Be sure to plant them with other later-blooming native plants.


Benefits: Great for early pollinators, rabbit and deer resistant*, juglone tolerant


Companion Plants: Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern), Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern), Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Blue Wood Aster), Eurybia divaricata (White Wood Aster), Asarum canadense (Wild Ginger), Carex appalachica (Appalachian Sedge). Not native but Astilbe and large Hostas work perfectly to hide the fading foliage.


Fun Facts: Native Americans used it to treat tuberculosis and whooping cough. The roots were also used as an antidote for poisons.


*there is no such thing as deer resistant anymore

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