Plant name: Virginia Bluebells
Botanical name: Mertensia virginica
Virtues: Emerges in early spring to flower for several weeks. Self-seeds to form a colony quickly.
Foliage: Emerges in early spring a deep purplish blue, then beomes light green with a hint of indigo. Long and narrow.
Flowers: Bright pink buds appear in early spring and open as drooping bright blue bells. New flowers appear daily over several weeks.
Season: Spring. Plant dies back to its woody roots after flowering.
Origin: Eastern US and Canada. Most prolific in the southern Appalachians.
Cultivation: Thrives in moist, rich woodland soils under deciduous trees that allow it sun in spring and shade in summer. Tolerates some summer drought. Transplant after foliage has started to yellow in late spring, taking care not the snap off parts of the brittle roots. Will spread by its numerous tiny black seeds. USDA Zones 4–9.
Image courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder