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 Virginia) is 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.
How to use
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 habitat.
Where to plant
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.
How to propagate
New plants are grown through division of the old ones.
Mertensia – Virginia Cowslip, Smooth Lungwort, Kentucky Blue Bells