Worcester County

  • Baby chicks

    Agriculture & Food Systems

  • Edwin Remsberg

    Nutrition & Healthy Living

  • GC 4-H

    4-H Youth Development

  • Pocomoke River

    Environment & Natural Resources

  • Gardener

    Home Gardening & Master Gardener Program

  • Finance Education

    Financial Education

Mertensia virginica

Plant of the Week...is also called Virginia bluebells or Virginia cowslips, a lovely native herbaceous perennial that thrives in moist, rich, well-drained soils in part to full shade.They grow as clump forming erect plants 1 to 2 feet tall and 1 to 1 ½ feet wide, and depending on the site blooming from March to May, for about 3 weeks. Plants are cold tolerant in USDA zones 3-9, and have deep taproots that don’t like to be disturbed. The 2-8 inch foliage is attached alternately on the stems, emerging in a deep purple color, maturing into a green blue color with a smooth, oval shaped with wavey margins. The flower buds start out a soft pink that develop into a bright sky-blue trumpet shaped flower. Flowers grow to ¾ to 1 inch long and have a delicate sweet fragrance with 5 petals that fuse together to create the trumpet. They can self-seed and colonize, filling in areas around the trees.   In mid-summer the plant foliage dies to the ground and goes dormant, so they should be interplanted with other shade loving perennials like Trillium, Dicentra, ferns or shade loving annuals for summer color. While they are in bloom bumblebees, long tonged bees, butterflies, skippers, moths, flower flies, bee flies and hummingbirds will visit. Plants are resistant to rabbits, deer and Black Walnuts. There are no serious pests.

Ginny Rosenkranz