December 12, 2015
Bluebells, whose botanical name is Hyacinthoides, are a somewhat delicate, bulbous perennial flower in the Asparagaceae scientific family. With eleven species in the Hyacinthoide family, the two most common are the English Bluebells (Hyacinthoides Non-Scripta) and Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides Hispanica). Bluebells, which are also commonly called Wood Hyacinths, flower around the same time of the year as Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinths, typically from April through mid May. Roots grown from the plant’s bulbs pull the bulbs down into its ideal depth, at approximately four-five inches. The plant’s ability to reproduce vegetatively is an indicator that they will spread very rapidly and may eventually be needed to be constrained, least they get out of control. A Google search of the plant shows many instances of Bluebells forming a massive carpet-like layer of blooms, which is very impressive.
English Bluebells are native to north-western Spain, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands. They have been naturalized into Germany, Romania, Italy and to the Pacific Northwest and northeastern United States. Three-six linear, strap-shaped leaves grow up from each bulb, one-quarter to three-quarter inches wide. A cluster of six-twelve bell-shaped flowers sprout on each stem. Reaching a height up to a foot and a half tall, English Bluebell blooms are all on the same side of the stem, causing it to bend over at its tip. Each flower is one-half to three-quarter inches in length, with six tepals curving back at their tips. Its flowers are deep purple. The blooms have three cream-colored stamens which produce its pollen and have a very strong fragrance. English Bluebells are native to wooded areas. The thicker the canopy, the more suppressed the ground cover becomes which enables the Bluebells to take over, forming a very thick carpet of blooms. These flowers however, do like the full sun as well as partial shade.
Spanish Bluebells are native to Portugal, south-western Spain and north-western Africa. This specie is different from its English counterpart in that they mostly grow naturally in open areas, and are rarely found in wooded areas. Each bulb produces a clump of two-six strap-shaped leaves from which rises a stem up to eighteen inches tall. Each stem normally has up to sixteen hanging, bell-shaped flowers. Its larger, paler, flowers are more evenly attached to the stem, unlike that of the English Bluebells, thus not causing it to lean over. The blooms of this plant come in shades of blue, pink and white. The plant’s stamens have bluish filaments supporting cream-colored anthers. In addition to having broader leaves, its blooms have little or no fragrance. Like its English cousin, Spanish Bluebells like the full sun as well as partial shade too.
Both types of Bluebells are easily grown in medium, moist but well-drained soil, though they prefer a sandy, well-drained soil. The plants go dormant by early summer, and their leaves become somewhat unattractive. Neither specie has any serious insect or disease problems. These two species will hybridize with each other if planted too close. The type of flower in these photographs are English Bluebells.
If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!
Steven H. Spring