About Virginia Bluebells: This woodland flower is among those grown by Thomas Jefferson in his estate gardens at Monticello. His Garden Book records that he first discovered them blooming on April 16, 1766. Early settlers gave this plant the unusual common name “lungwort” because of its resemblance to an English plant used for treating lung disease. The genus name Mertensia honors Franz Carl Mertens, an influential German botanist.
Virginia Bluebells Germination: Direct sow seeds in late fall, planting them just below the surface of the soil. Keep the soil moist. For spring planting, mix the seeds with moist sand and store in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks before planting; keep the soil moist until germination. This seed can also be started indoors 6-8 weeks before planting in the spring; transplant the seedlings outdoors as soon as possible, since mature plants do not appreciate having their roots disturbed and do not grow well indoors.
Growing Virginia Bluebells Seeds: Water regularly, being sure not to overwater; this plant prefers evenly moist, well-draining soil. This plant quickly goes dormant after its early blooming, and can reseed itself in favorable growing conditions. These blooms attract bees and butterflies. This makes an excellent choice for woodland plantings or other moist, shaded areas. Mature plants can be divided late in the season, once they are in a state of dormancy.
Harvesting Virginia Bluebells: These blossoms do not perform well as cut flowers, and are best enjoyed outdoors.
Saving Virginia Bluebells Seeds: Soon after blooming, each flower will produce small, shriveled fruits that contain the seeds. For best results, plant immediately; alternatively, store them in the refrigerator until planting several weeks before the last frost of spring. For longer storage, allow the seeds to dry in a protected place before storing them in the refrigerator.
Detailed Virginia Bluebells Info: Origin: US Native Wildflower Other Common Names: Virginia Cowslip, Lungwort Oysterleaf, Roanoke Bells Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Spring Height: 18-24 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Part Sun to Woodland Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 3a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 7,100 Produces a plant with bright green, oval leaves and heavy clusters of trumpet-like 1” blue blossoms.