Growing Mertensia Virginica

by on July 20th, 2010
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Mertensia is a plant genus comprising a few dozen species of herbs. One species that is particularly popular among gardeners and landscapers is Mertensia virginica. This perennial flowering herb is native to the eastern region of North America and is commonly known as Virginia bluebell. It grows 1 to 2 feet in height and spreads a similar width. Its foliage consists of large basil leaves that droop lazily around trumpet-shaped violet flowers, which bloom in early spring. Its compact form and showy flowers make it an ideal plant for beds and borders, especially in native gardens or rock gardens.

There are several things to consider when planting and growing the Virginia bluebell. The condition of the soil, the climate, and certain pests or diseases can affect the health of Mertensia virginica.


This flowering plant thrives in hardiness zones 3 to 8. It prefers locations that are partially shaded or fully shaded from the sun.

Soil Conditions

It is recommended to plant the Virginia bluebell in rich, well-drained soils. Poorly draining soil may lead to root rot, which is a condition that deteriorates the structure and function of the plants root system. It tolerates average, medium soil. It is a good idea to add mulch to protect it from the elements.

Watering and Fertilizers

Maintain a regular watering schedule for this plant. Keep the soil moist, but avoid over-watering this plant. Too much water may lead to root rot.


The best way to propagate this plant is by sowing seeds. Another option is to divide the rhizomes when it is dormant.

Pests and Diseases

There aren’t any insects or microorganisms which are common to this plant species. The flowers frequently attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Mertensia virginica – Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Mertensia virginica – Missouri Botanical Garden

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