The Complete Guide for Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia Virginica) Care


The Virginia Bluebells, otherwise known as the Mertensia Virginica or Maiden Grass ‘Flamingo’, Eulalia ‘Flamingo’, Chinese Silver Grass ‘Flamingo’, Japanese Silver Grass ‘Flamingo’, is a rather well known ornamental grass plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and fast growth, this ornamental grass will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Virginia Bluebells Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Virginia Bluebells are the following:

  • Water: The Virginia Bluebells needs soil that is constantly moist through regular watering.
  • Light: Keep your Mertensia Virginica in an environment where it can receive full shade on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Virginia Bluebells in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Virginia Bluebells this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Mertensia virginica flowers

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Virginia Bluebells belongs to the Poaceae family, the genus Miscanthus and the species Sinenesis, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Mertensia Virginica.

As with other Miscanthus’s, the Virginia Bluebells is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year. 

Growing Region

The Virginia Bluebells is a plant native to the Asia.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Virginia Bluebells. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Mertensia Virginica will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Virginia Bluebells is a relatively fast grower, which makes things tricky for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But what exactly does this mean for your Virginia Bluebells? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Mertensia Virginica can grow up to 5′ – 6′ (150cm – 180cm) in 5′ – 6′ (150cm – 180cm) and 4′ – 5′ (120cm – 150cm) in 4′ – 5′ (120cm – 150cm). 

These dimensions make the Virginia Bluebells a relatively large ornamental grass compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 60″ – 72″ (150cm – 180cm) free so the Virginia Bluebells can spread to its best extent.

Water

In terms of watering, the Virginia Bluebells is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Mertensia Virginica needs soil that is constantly moist through regular watering.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Mertensia virginica care

Watering

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Virginia Bluebells in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has occasionally dry, occasionally wet, good drainage, moist, and very dry properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Virginia Bluebells is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Virginia Bluebells prefers to have soil with occasionally dry, occasionally wet, good drainage, moist, and very dry properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Virginia Bluebells requires soil with clay, loam (silt), and sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Virginia Bluebells requires full shade in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this ornamental grass will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Mertensia Virginica in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being a herbaceous plant, the Virginia Bluebells will die back to the ground every year. 

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the summer (late), the fall, and during the winter.

Flowers

You can expect your Virginia Bluebells to flower around the spring, summer and the fall months from April to June (spring), from July to September (summer), and from October to December (fall).

In particular, this ornamental grass is well known for its showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Virginia Bluebells produces some beautiful blue, or red/burgundy, gray/silverpink, and white flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the Virginia Bluebells have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Mertensia Virginica to be around (> 6 inches) in size.

Mertensia virginica up close

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Virginia Bluebells is well known for being able to attract birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for salt, drought and animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Mertensia Virginica will be fine.

Garden

How should you then organize your garden to include your new Virginia Bluebells? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Mertensia Virginica owners agree that this ornamental grass will look great in most cottage and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of coastal garden, modern garden, city and courtyard, informal and cottage, and in prairie and meadow styles. 

In particular, the Virginia Bluebells’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in hedges and screens, others use it for landscaping in a woodland garden,

Conclusion

Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Virginia Bluebells, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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