How to Plant Virginia Bluebell Bulbs


Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are native to the woodlands from New York to South Carolina and west to Alabama, Kansas and Minnesota. They bloom in the spring with small blue flowers that go well with other colored flowers such as daffodils and tulips or add interest to a garden bed with green plants such as ferns. Virginia bluebells have root structures that resemble bulbs and are often classified as bulbs. However, they are not "true" bulbs. Virginia bluebells' roots are actually tubers.

Step 1

Select a planting location. Virginia bluebells prefer partial shade and are ideal plants in areas that only receive a couple hours of sunlight a day.

Step 2

Prepare the planting bed so that the soil is well draining and rich in humus. The best way to do this is to till the top 12 inches of soil with a garden rake and then mix in several inches of humus, such as compost or peat moss.

Step 3

Plant the bulbs (tubers) two inches below the surface of the soil. The eyes should be facing up. Space multiple bulbs about 10 to 12 inches apart.

Step 4

Backfill the soil and pack it down to remove any voids in the soil. Then water the bulbs well. Add a couple inches of mulch, such as bark or pine needles, to help the soil retain moisture.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork
  • Trowel
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • Iowa State University Extension
  • Virginia bluebell
  • Virginia Wildflower of the Year
Keywords: plant virginia bluebell, plant bulbs, plant Mertensia virginica

About this Author

Melissa Lewis graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has written over 20 episodes for the radio drama entitled "A Work in Progress." She also writes for several online outlets, including Gardenguides, Travels and Examiner, and is currently finalizing a movie script to be filmed in 2010.