Mertensia are hardy perennials that range from 20 to 90 cm (8 to 36 inches) in height.
They have blueish green leaves and purplish bell shaped flowers that bloom from the end of spring until the start of summer.
These woodland plants can be grown in mass or smaller species are ideal for use in rock gardens.
Some common names for Mertensia include Chiming bells, Virginia Bluebells, Mountain Bluebell, Oysterleaf and Languid ladies.
Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells) photograph by wackybadger.
Mertensia oblongifolia (Oblong-leaf bluebells) picture by Matt Lavin.
It is best to grow Virginia bluebells and other Mertensia outdoors from seed. They should be sown from freshly available seed in the summer.
The seed should be sown into flats and placed in a fully shaded area of the garden beneath glass.
Germination should take about two months. Allow the young Virginia bluebell seedlings to grow for about a year. Then transplant into the garden, in either autumn or summer.
They should be spaced at about 25 cm (10 inches) apart and grown in shady or partially shaded areas.
It is best to grow them in a woodland type soil that is very fertile, moist and a pH close to 7 (neutral pH). It will take at least three years for the Mertensia plants to bloom.
As Virginia bluebells are woodland plants it is best to keep the roots cool by mulching.
Mertensia plants should be watered regularly during the spring to keep the soil moist.
Once the plants are in bloom water occasionally.
Following the end of the growing season, Mertensia will undergo senescence and decay completely, during this process they do not require watering.
If you require more Mertensia plants then they can be propagated by dividing the plants following flowering, but before the plants begin to undergo senescence.
The Mertensia genus consists of about 50 species, notable among them are the Virginia bluebells.
Yes, many species of Mertensia, such as Virginia bluebells, are highly prized for their beautiful spring blooms and make great additions to woodland or shade gardens.
Mertensia virginica or Virginia Bluebells, is the most frequently grown species due to its lovely blue flowers in spring.
While Mertensia plants have attractive flowers, they're not typically noted for fragrance.
Mertensia species prefer partial shade and rich, moist, well-drained soil. They're perfect for a woodland garden or shaded border.
Currently, Mertensia species are not listed as invasive in the USA. They're native to North America and parts of Asia.
To remove Mertensia, you should pull out the entire plant, including the roots, to prevent it from regrowing.
Mertensia is a genus in the Boraginaceae family, including species like Virginia bluebells. The genus is recognized for its beautiful bell-shaped flowers that create a sea of color in the garden.
For optimal growth, plant Mertensia in a location with partial to full shade and rich, well-drained soil. They thrive when planted in early spring. Regular watering is necessary, especially in dry conditions, but they are generally low-maintenance plants.