Alphabetical Plant Listing

Mertensia maritima (Oyster Plant)

Oysterleaf, Sea Lungwort, Oyster Plant, Gromwell, Sea Bugloss, Mertensia asiatica, Mertensia simplicissima, Stenhammaria maritima, Mertensia maritima subsp. asiatica


Mertensia maritima (Oyster Plant) is a spreading, prostrate perennial forming a rosette of thick, oval, silvery blue-green leaves, 4 in. long (10 cm), reputedly tasting of oysters. From late spring to mid-summer, branched clusters of pendent, bright blue, bell-shaped flowers open from pink buds. Carried on sturdy stems, they give way to fruits that ripen in late summer and usually germinate during the following season from spring onwards. During winter, the foliage dies back, and fresh shoots arise each spring from dormant buds at or below ground level. Easy to grow, this spring ephemeral deserves a spot in the spring garden for the pleasure it provides.

  • Grows up to 4-6 in. tall (10-15 cm) and 4-5 in. wide (10-12 cm).
  • Thrives in poor, gritty, sharply-drained soil in full sun with some midday shade. Drought tolerant.
  • Great for coastal gardens, cottage gardens, rock gardens, or containers.
  • Generally disease free. Keep an eye out for slugs and snails.
  • Cut back after flowering.
  • Propagate by seed sown in containers in a cold frame in autumn; keep young plants shaded and do not allow the soil to dry out. Divide plants carefully as new growth begins in spring.
  • Native to the Northern Hemisphere.

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Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 7
Heat Zones 1 – 7
Plant Type Perennials
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid)
Height 4" – 6" (10cm – 15cm)
Spread 4" – 5" (10cm – 12cm)
Spacing 5" (12cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United Kingdom, United States, Alaska, Northeast, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire
Tolerance Drought
Garden Uses Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage

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By David Havel, Shutterstock

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.


Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 7
Heat Zones 1 – 7
Plant Type Perennials
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid)
Height 4" – 6" (10cm – 15cm)
Spread 4" – 5" (10cm – 12cm)
Spacing 5" (12cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United Kingdom, United States, Alaska, Northeast, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire
Tolerance Drought
Garden Uses Patio and Containers
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage

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