Care for bluebell flowers

Updated July 20, 2017

Bluebells are a familiar sight in British woodlands during the spring but you can also grow them in your own garden. Bluebells will flourish under deciduous shrubs and trees or in shady corners of your garden. The lavender-blue bell-shaped flowers bloom from late spring into summer and are also well suited to rock gardens. Bluebells are hardy perennial woodland plants that typically grow to a height of around 10 cm to 15 cm.

Site selection and preparation

Bluebells do well if they're grown in an area with good air circulation and at least partial shade. Bluebells are deer-resistant and may bloom repeatedly for many years. Bluebells, like all perennials, require good soil preparation -- dig the soil to a depth of 20 cm to 30 cm and mix in compost or leaf mould to improve drainage. Bluebells do best in a woodland-type soil that is moist and fertile with a pH near 7 (neutral pH).

Planting, watering and feeding

Plant bluebells in the autumn or early spring, and water them thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots. Keep the soil moist while the root systems develop; use a guideline of 3 cm to 5 cm of water per week. Use a fertiliser in a 10-10-10 mix, using about 500 grams per 9 square metres. Keep the bluebell roots cool by mulching around the base of the plants.

Varieties of bluebells

English native or Spanish bluebells are commonly grown in flowerbeds and gardens. Spanish bluebells, which grow from bulbs, reproduce by developing small offset bulbs on the sides of the main bulbs; the Spanish bluebells also produce seeds. Hyacinthoides non-scripta, or English bluebells, are a perennial woodland flower native to Britain, where it is a protected plant.

Companion plants

The pale bluish-purple of bluebells will complement many yellow blooms in the spring, including daffodils and tulips. White Lion and Rose Queen scilla are related, and make beautiful companion plants. Forget-me-nots and other blue flowers such as the earlier-blooming Siberian squill make good companions. Because bluebells tend to grow in clumps, the blue flowers make a complementary backdrop to dramatic spots of colour in a flowerbed. Bluebells do well under or around the bases of shrubs, and provide a subtle splash of colour under rosebushes or lilacs.

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