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Mertensia ciliata (Mountain Bluebells)

Tall Fringed Bluebells, Tall Fringe Bluebells, Mountain Bell, Mountain Bluebells, Chiming Bells, Languid Ladies, Streamside Bluebells

Mertensia ciliata, Tall Fringed Bluebells, Tall Fringe Bluebells,  Mountain Bell, Mountain Bluebells, Chiming Bells, Languid Ladies, Blue Flowers, Blue Spring Flowers
Mertensia ciliata, Tall Fringed Bluebells, Tall Fringe Bluebells,  Mountain Bell, Mountain Bluebells, Chiming Bells, Languid Ladies, Blue Flowers, Blue Spring Flowers

Amongst the tallest of the bluebells, Mertensia ciliata (Mountain Bluebells) is an upright perennial forming broad clumps of erect leafy stems which arise from a thick, branching caudex. In early to late summer, loose clusters of pendent, narrowly bell-shaped flowers are on display. Opening from pink buds, the sweet-scented tubular flowers gradually turn clear blue, then become pinkish as they age. The charming blossoms give way to fruits that ripen in late summer to fall. The large, blue-green leaves, 6 in. long (15 cm), are oval to lance-shaped, pointed at the tip, with finely toothed edges and prominent veins. Native to the western United States, Mountain Bluebells often grows in moist habitat, such as subalpine meadows and creeksides. It spreads by rhizomes to form great colonies, carpeting the ground with blue-green foliage and bluebell blooms. The flowers and leaves are edible. The Cheyenne Native Americans made a tea of the powdered root and used it to relieve the itching caused by smallpox and measles. Easy to grow, Mountain Bluebells deserves a spot in the summer garden for the pleasure it provides.

  • Grows up to 12-48 in. tall (30-120 cm) and 12-18 in. wide (30-45 cm).
  • Thrives in moist to wet loams and sandy loams in sun or part shade.
  • Generally disease free. Keep an eye out for slugs and snails. Good air circulation is necessary to prevent mildew diseases.
  • Cut back after flowering
  • Propagate by seed. Seed scarification improves germination. Divide rhizomes in the spring
  • Native to south-western North America – Oregon to New Mexico.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Boraginaceae
Common names Bluebells
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Height 1' - 4'
(30cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 18" (50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average, High
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, California, Midwest, South Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah
Tolerance Wet Soil
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ponds And Streams
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Gravel and Rock Garden, Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Boraginaceae
Common names Bluebells
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Height 1' - 4'
(30cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 18" (50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average, High
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, California, Midwest, South Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah
Tolerance Wet Soil
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ponds And Streams
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Gravel and Rock Garden, Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?

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