First Virginia Bluebells of Spring

Ring the Bells for Earth Day

Virginia Bluebells

This morning's wind was not cold, but it had a mind of its own. First thing, it shook the Virginia Bluebells awake. They've been dozing in bud for weeks.

But today they are all smiles. They glance downward like shy young girls who suspect but don't yet fully realize their own beauty.

Virginia Bluebells is a surprisingly robust wildflower. It sends up tender-looking leaves while all the other flowers are keeping their heads down, below the surface of the soil

And when they do emerge, bluebells can easily live through alarming returns of bad weather. Bury them under a couple inches of snow, and they come out smiling when the ice melts.

Who loves bluebells?

This flower is a favorite of bumblebees, which can push into the narrow tube of the blossom. Butterflies and moths also feed on the nectar.

And of course gardeners adore them. It's great that they bloom before almost any other flower. But the way they return year after year is soul satisfying. The clumps come back stronger and thicker every year.

Where does it grow?

Virginia Bluebells are true spring ephemerals, blooming in the woods before the trees leaf out. If you plant them in your garden, put them in a partially shady spot.

Range of Virginia Bluebell

The map shows the native range of Virginia Bluebells. The light green color shows counties where it is found growing wild. This map was produced by The Biota of North America Program (BONAP).

Even if you are outside the limits of the green counties, you have a good chance of succeeding with Virginia Bluebells, providing you're not in a terribly hot area.

The names of the bluebell

Full common name:
Virginia Bluebell

Scientific name:
Mertensia virginica

— Diane Porter, Fairfield, Iowa, April 22, 2022

See more of Diane's blogposts about plants