Virginia bluebells, also called Virginia cowslips, grow 1 to 2 feet tall. They produce pink buds in spring which bloom into blue, bell-shaped flowers soon after. This perennial dies back quickly after blooming, so it is often planted in between other, more robust plants. It does not survive well in full sun or in certain soil conditions. Although transplanting is difficult, it may be necessary to keep the plant alive.
Observe your Virginia bluebells to ascertain whether they absolutely need transplanting. They do not like disturbance after planting, and you should transplant these flowers only if they absolutely need it.
Dig with a spade, leaving a wide berth around the flowers in order to encompass all the roots. Do not worry about cutting a few roots, as this is bound to happen.
Lift the clump of soil containing the Virginia bluebells out of the ground. Place it on burlap and keep it moist as you transport it to its new location.
Dig a hole in the new location that is the size of the soil clump. Place the clump in the hole, making sure that it is even with soil level. Tamp the soil down around the flowers.
Water the transplanted Virginia bluebells deeply after planting. Water again when the soil dries slightly. Do not over-water; keeping the soil soaked will kill the bluebells.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Water your bluebells sparingly. Allow the top inch or so of the the soil to dry out before watering bluebells when they are in bloom. Once blooms die by the end of summer, these flowers do not require any supplemental water.
Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of your bluebells. As woodland plants they like cool roots.
Fertilize your bluebells in early spring if the soil has low fertility or if you are growing them outside of their recommended growing zone. Use a balanced fertilizer at a rate of 1 pound of fertilizer per 100 square feet.
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