Emily Bronte once wrote about English Bluebells saying, “a fine and subtle spirit dwells in every little flower.” She even wrote a poem titled The Bluebell. This beautiful violet-blue, fragrant flower is native to the British Isles but are also grown throughout Europe and America. English Bluebells are also known as Hyacinthoides non-scripta and are a perennial wildflower that blooms in the spring.
In the United Kingdom, these flowers are a protected species under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. It is against the law to uproot these flowers on land where they naturally grow. Digging up wild Bluebells and trying to sell them carries a fine of £5000 per bulb (more than $6000 US dollars). In 2015, they were voted the favorite wildflower of England.
These perennials are grown from bulbs and are typically planted in autumn. The flowers on the plant are violet-blue with a trumpet shape and they drop. The plants have grass-like basal foliage that supports upright stems that have clusters of flowers. Bluebells are shade-loving plants and grow around 12 inches tall. You can grow these flowers in all soil types and they prefer partial shade or a woodland setting.
When first planting and trying to establish these flowers make sure to water them the first few seasons when the ground is dry. Allow the leaves on the plant to die down naturally, and the flowers will come back year after year. Fully mature plants measure one-foot in diameter; so make sure you give them enough space when you plant them. Once established these plants will multiply profusely. A great place to plant them would be around trees or shrubs. Bluebells should not be eaten as all parts of the plant are toxic.
English Bluebells make a wonderful groundcover. Pollinators love English Bluebells especially bees. They bloom in the spring (April/May). They look great when planted near yellow daffodils or daisies. Now is the time to plant these beauties, why not give them a try!