Stunning drifts of bluebell flowers are a visual treat in late spring gardens. This easy to grow flower naturalizes well, even in shady conditions. A versatile choice for minimal modern or charming cottage garden plans, this fragrant variety will be back year after year.
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Bluebell flowers can be grown from seed or bulbs, but most gardeners grow bluebells using bulbs.
To grow from seed, sow seeds thinly from late summer to spring in pots filled with your own sieved compost or a nutrient-rich seed starting mix. Leave in pots for the first year feeding regularly with organic liquid seaweed fertilizer. Plant out to a permanent position in the second year.
To start from bulbs, plant them about 3 inches (8 cm) deep in well-drained soil, preferably in partial shade.
Choose an area under trees or in a border with herbaceous plants. Plant bulbs in groups of four to ten. For maximum effect, choose an area for them to drift over time creating a striking block of color.
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Bluebell flowers can tolerate dry conditions. Once they are established they will only need watering if the soil is very dry or there is a drought.
Left alone, flowers will self-seed and eventually move into all available space. Deadhead flowers as they fade to avoid this, but let the leaves remain as they die down to allow them gather energy for next year’s blooms.
And don’t compost bulbs immediately. Let them dry out for a year before adding to your compost or dispose of them with other household waste.
Divide bulbs every four years to encourage healthy plants. Replant large bulbs to create new displays.
Flowers can be harvested in late spring by cutting stems at the base of the plant.
Cut bluebell flowers last only a handful of days and the plant will not produce more flowers that year. Small numbers of stems make a simple, fragrant display.
Bluebell plants are usually fairly pest resistant. The most common problems are due to bulb flies. The flies lay their eggs in loose soil in the spring, so firm the soil around the emerging plant in the spring to help avoid this (but don’t pack the soil down so tightly that water and air can’t get in).
The following pests and diseases have each been known to affect the success of growing bluebell (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...
Yep - He grew these himself!
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