Mertensia – Virginia Cowslip, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers

Perennial Flower Information

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Mertensia – Virginia Cowslip, Smooth
Kentucky Blue Bells

The Virginian Cowslip is
one of the loveliest of the early Spring blooming plants.
In rambling through the fields and woods for Violets,
large clumps of these flowers can be seen growing at
random. Of the many species, this Virginian Cowslip,
often wrongly called Blue Bells (Mertensia virginica)
the showiest of all and the one which is most
easily grown. The plants grow from 1 foot to 2 feet
high, with soft, light green stems and foliage. The
flowers are reddish purple when in bud, but as the flowers
open, they change to a lovely gentian-blue. They hang
in drooping, nodding, graceful clusters and the individual
flowers are funnel-shaped. It comes into bloom early;
in fact, most of the growth is made before leaves come
out on the trees.

UTILIZE. The Virginian Cowslip
serves its best purpose when allowed to naturalize itself
in shady places. It combines well in borders, or in
shaded corners where it can grow as if in its own wild

GENERAL. Mertensias need
moist soil, preferably a rich, deep, loamy soil. Although
most of the growth is made in sunlight, for it grows
so early in the Spring, yet the plants should be naturalized
in shady places and should not be disturbed when once
planted. Mertensias are nearly always found growing
in damp woods.

PROPAGATION. New plants arc
grown through division of the old ones.

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