English bluebells?

vettin(z6b Northern VA)May 10, 2014

I bought what I think are English bluebells at a garden club sale. Do these need sun or shade? Any soil amendment needed?

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cereza28

Bluebells grow better in the shade. At the moment there are carpets of bluebells in the woods in the South of England...

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 9:41AM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

There's shade and there's shade.

English bluebells apparently flower in dappled light, as the tree canopy is closing over. I'm assuming that they went through part of their short life cycle (ephemerals) without that shading.

There can also be confusion between English and Spanish bluebells and the unwelcome hybridization that occurs between them. The latter two are more open country bluebells.

Do you know that you have English bluebells?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 10:54AM
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Campanula UK Z8

a pic will sort out any confusion....or a sniff. English bluebells have a particularly penetrating sweet scent which is wholly absent in the Spanish interloper. Shade - yep, they are quick to bloom before the canopy closes over them.....clearing our woods revealed tiny unsuspected colonies previously hidden in the brambly undergrowth. I will be saving seed avidly over the next couple of weeks,

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 1:12PM
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vettin(z6b Northern VA)

Here are photos, I bought two pots that could have come from different gardens:

2nd:

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 1:23PM
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Campanula UK Z8

dbl post

This post was edited by campanula on Sat, May 10, 14 at 13:36

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 1:32PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Nope, not english. Locate these where you are happy for the clump to spread (it will) or remove immediately as spanish bluebell bulbs divide and persist in the soil forever. Probably not a problem....but if you ever did want to grow the more delicate english bluebells, the more thuggish spanish types will hybridise and overwhelm the deeper blue hyacinth non-scriptoides (a bit like the grey squirrel did to our native reds)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 1:35PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Agreed - those are not the genuine article. (Hyacinthoides non-scripta BTW). As you can see they are much more dainty.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 1:46PM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Read that for the first time ever, English bluebells bloomed this year in February in parts of south-west England and Wales. They normally bloom in April and May.

Climate change deniers aside, most of the rest of us can assume the likely cause.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 2:23PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Grew a few from seed, bloomed for the first time last year.The winter we just had did mine in, probably because I was growing them in a container :(. I'll see if I can find a few bulbs in the fall.
They are such a pretty flower and bonus ,scented. Now those darn Spanish Bluebells, once you have them, you'll always have them. They are as persistent as that darn (being polite ) Campanula rapunculoides.

Annette

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 2:27PM
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shadeyplace(7)

You all had a milder winter than usual...WE, on the other hand had a ferocious one and everything is much later. Bluebells included.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 2:33PM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

True, SP.

Climate explanation given: arctic warming moved the jet stream south.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:52PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

The true beauty of the bluebell is when it is en masse and the woods seem to be awash with a sea of blue lapping round the tree trunks. It's more of a misty effect than individual flowers. I passed a few such scenes today. It is really hard to capture on camera. This is just a hint in a poor, out of focus picture on a phone.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 3:56PM
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shadeyplace(7)

Lovely!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 4:35PM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Very attractive, Floral.

I'd rather have your blue than our white.
(Most Trilliums around here are white).

As Woody said, they're late this year.

May 13, 2010

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 6:20PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

There are places around here that have large swathes of naturalized scilla. It's the same effect, and very impressive.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 6:27PM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Agree. They really are attractive, Mad G.

As you indicate, above are English bluebells and trilliums in their native contexts.

I spend some time, each spring, fighting Scilla, Chionodoxa and Puschkinia in several gardens. I would also never recommend planting any of them to people who like neat perennial gardens.

But of the three, I think that when Scilla runs amuk, it's the most impressive. I've not seen the other two form such tight blocks of colour as the more compact Scilla can. Also, to me, the colour of the Scilla is definitely the most striking.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:11PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Mmmm yes, this is the next stage of my woodland plan - lots of little blue bulbs. I have always liked squills, especially a rather fluffy one called S.litardierei while my eldest son has an impressive collection of numerous muscari....and of course ipheon, chionodoxa et al. Along with omphalodes and the start of my tiny mertensia colonies, in my mind's eye, I see swathes of cerulean blue. Note to self - save seeds of Geranium sylvestris.

Ah trilliums. Years ago, these were some of the first things I sowed from seed. Yep, it took years. If only they had lasted as long in my garden. Somewhere along the line, the fact that they require acidic peaty soil failed to penetrate my dimwitted brain.....so my few wake robins dwindled and vanished after less than 3 years (unsurprisingly, in my sandy alkaline soil).

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:07AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I don't think we should compare Trilliums and Bluebells. Both are gorgeous. We all want what we can't have. As Campanula said acid soil is at a premium over here and only found in certain places.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:23AM
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