|Soil:||Sand, Loam, Clay|
|Zones:||4, 5, 6, 7|
|Color:||Pink, Lavender, Blue|
The distinctive blue-pink flowers of Mertensia virginica appear soon after snow melts. Native to the eastern U.S. this unique woodland wildflower is a true harbinger of spring. Long-lived, the plant expands slowly to form beautiful clumps that return year after year.
Early season pollinators appreciate the blooms. Long-tongued bees such as bumblebees and mason bees provide cross-pollination during their visits. Other nectar seeking visitors include the Giant Bee Fly, butterflies, skippers, and Sphinx moths.
In the garden, Virginia Bluebells prefers a rich, moist soil. Use natural leaf mulch to help enrich the soil and create the right environment for this choice species. Best massed and left undisturbed in a moist, shady environment, or distributed throughout the shady border or rock garden. The plants go dormant in late summer, so they are best used in conjunction with other perennials (such as ferns or sedges or Wild Ginger) that will expand as the growing season progresses.
As a member of the borage family, which are often covered with bristly hairs, Mertensia virginica stands out with its smooth, oval grayish green foliage.
Also known as: Virginia Cowslip, Lungwort or Roanoke bells
Natural Habitat: Moist moist, rich woods and river floodplains