Planting and Growing the Virginia Bluebells

Virginia bluebells is from the borage family of plants. It is native to the United States. Botanically, it is named Mertensia virginica.

Virginia Bluebells Description

Growing one to two feet high, this erect perennial has smooth leaves and clusters of flowers. Leaves are oval and line the stems. Foliage is gray-green and flowers are pink while in the bud and light blue when open. They are trumpet-shaped and nodding. Bloom season is between March and June.

Growing Guide

Grow in partial to full shade conditions with a moist soil that is nearly neutral in pH. Propagate by seed or division of the rhizomes. Seed needs cold moist stratification for six weeks. Rhizomes should be divided while the plant is dormant.


This native is found in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. It is seen in river bottoms, and moist wood areas.

Other Species

Other species include the tall lungwort (Mertensia virginica) which is a more western species and the sea lungwort (Mertensia maritima) which is found on beaches. The genus Mertensia was named for Franz Mertens, a German botanist.

Wildlife Attracted

This native plant attracts mason bees, bumblebees, and honey bees for the pollen. They are good for hummingbirds as well. Butterfly species that are typically seen around the plant include skippers, hummingbird moths, and Sphinx months. The nectar and pollen are good sources for miner bees and leaf-cutting bees too.

Source: NPIN,

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