Blue Bell Flower: Types, Meanings & Benefits

When driving by woodlands and hedgerows, are you strongly mesmerized by the rich sea of Bluebells?

The chances are you are an anthophile in love with magical Bluebell flowers woven with fairy enchantments to trap humans.

Jokes aside! Bluebell flowers are mesmerizing flowering plants that adorn your garden.

Bluebell flowers are bell-shaped perennial herbs that droop to one side when matured. Associated with European fairytales, these flowers attract many pollinators and come in several species with unique characteristics.

Bluebell flower
Bluebell flowers emit a sweet fragrance that repels predators but also attracts pollinators.

In fact, these flowers thrive in woodlands and gardens throughout springtime, symbolizing happiness and hope.

Read more to find out where you can pick these flowers or plant them if you are considering growing Bluebells.

Bluebell Flower Meaning & Symbolism

Bluebell flowers are perennials that boast Blue bell-shaped blossoms drooping to one side.

You would mostly find them blooming in spring from late March until May, when the entire garden or meadow would turn into a carpet of Blue, symbolizing happiness, love, and hope.

Goat sniffing Bluebell flower
Bluebell is associated with many different European folklores, fantasy, and magical histories.

People from different parts would know them by names such as harebells, Witch’s Thimble, and Witch’s Bells.

The flower is named after the species of wildflower European Blue Bell (Campanula rotundifolia), but some sources also cite that the name comes from harebells in Scotland.

In fact, the Scottish fairytale claims that witches turn themselves into hares to hide among the flowers.

Another Scotland tale refers to Bluebells as Aul (Old) Man’s Bells, a name often given to the devil. Therefore, these flowers were believed to propagate dark magic.

A famous Scottish folk song goes as such:

“O where and O where

does your highland laddie dwell

O where and O where

does your highland laddie dwell

He dwells in merry Scotland

where the bluebells sweetly smell

And all in my heart

I love my laddie well.”

Countless folklore portrays Bluebell woods as woven with fairy enchantments to trap humans, where they were forbidden to be picked for centuries.

Moreover, there is a myth that the fairies would come to you if you were to “ring” a Bluebell in the same way you would a regular bell.

However, a superstition also says that, if you heard a Bluebell ring, someone near to you might pass away.

Although rare, some species may also boast flowers in the shade of white, purple, and pink, but most gardeners prefer Bluebell flowers, which indicate different meanings.

Flower ColorSymbolism
Blue Bluebells1. These are the most common Bluebell flower that highlights positivity and life.

2. Blue is also calming and cooling and some gardeners grow them to indicate new beginnings.
White Bluebells1. White is one of the rarest Bluebell color. It symbolizes purity, contemplation, and innocence.

2. Some night-flowering Bluebells also symbolizes feminine energies of the moon.
Purple Bluebells1. Consider growing purple Bluebells which highlight forgiveness, apology, or moving forward.

2. The purple and violet shade help soothe mind and nerves, and transform feelings into love.
Pink Bluebells1. Pink is a rare Bluebell shade which symbolizes love and healing from grief, anxiety, or trauma.

2. It also indicates warmth, gentleness, and beauty.

Furthermore, Folklore in Britain believes that if someone is wearing a garland of Bluebells, they must be telling the truth. 

Moreover, one will also win their loved one if they can turn a Bluebell flower inside out without ripping the petals.

In fact, you find many Bluebell species native to Africa, Europe, and North America that you can decorate your garden with.

8 Types of BlueBell Flowers

Did you know in Greek mythology, the Bluebell flower symbolizes the Sun God Apollo’s grief towards the accidental death of the Spartan prince Hyacinths?

In fact, Bluebells are the species Hyacinthoides non-scripta, which comes from this popular mythology.

Whatever the reason, you can be assured that these flowers will help brighten your garden like no other.

Here are a few different species of Bluebells with some helpful tips to grow them well.

1. English Bluebell

English Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are the most commonly photographed Bluebell variety.

It is known for its deep-blue or purplish color, unlike any other Bluebell species, and is commonly found in the wild.

It mainly grows in the wooded and dampened area, such as near streams or ponds.

The English Bluebell flower is highlighted by its signature bell-shaped blossom that droops to one side.

The flower stem is thin and delicate; each flower carries a small white patch on its petal, whereas a mature plant will reach about 12 inches in height.

English bluebell
English bluebells display flowers drooping to one side.

When growing English Bluebell at home, consider providing suitable weather and moisture to help them thrive.

They grow best in USDA zones 4 to 9 with partial shade conditions and moist, loamy soil.

Planting seeds may take up to 6 months to germinate and another 4 to 5 years to reach flowering.

You can help boost flower production using slow-release fertilizers higher in phosphorus content in spring.

Note: Bluebells can spread rapidly; hence they are best grown in confinement.

2. Scottish Bluebell

Scottish, also known as Harebell, comes from Scottish woodlands, which boast long and narrow stems with drooping leaf fronds.

The name ‘harebell’ comes from a Scottish legend about witches turning themselves into hares to hide under Bluebell bushes.

Another exciting name for the Scottish Bluebell is Fairies’ Thimbles, suggesting that fairies live among the flowers.

Scottish bluebell
Scottish bluebells are also known as harebells which come from witches who would turn into hares.

These Bluebells thrive in temperate regions such as USDA zone 3a (-40°F) and above with no heavily moist soil conditions.

A little watering would suffice to help grow mature plants the size 12 inches tall and 15 inches wide.

The flowers would bloom every summer with stems spanning up to 30 cm and flowers in sizes of 12-30 mm.

Remember, Scottish Bluebells display five or more pale to mid-violet-blue petals fused.

3. Texas Bluebell

Texas Bluebell (Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum) especially comes from Texas, which enjoys growing in fertile, prairie-type soil.

These flowers do not do well in most arid areas, nor does it enjoy dry humidity.

However, it will die in standing water, the moisture has to be right.

The Texas Bluebell attains a height of 1-2 feet, and displays erect stems, 1 1/2 ft long stems, and waxy blooms.

Texas bluebell
Texas bluebell is native to Texas state.

The mature flowers often display unique shades of blue, white, yellow, and purple when provided with full sun and sandy, loamy soil.

However, the Texas Bluebell boasts erect but drooping flowers like other Bluebells. The plant is perennial in its native range, while other regions may only witness annual Bluebells.

Remember, the plant will bloom every June, July, August, and September.

4. Virginia Bluebell

Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica) is native to Eastern North America, where it blossoms every spring.

A part of the Boraginaceae family, Virginia Bluebell is different from the English or Scottish Bluebell and is more common to Comfrey and Forget-Me-Not.

However, the signature blue or purple bell-shaped flowers will make your garden look like a sea of flowers.

Virginia bluebell
Virginia bluebells display trumpet-styled flowers.

Each blossom displays a pink bud that opens to a beautiful trumpet-shaped flower.

Also known as Eastern Bluebell, Virginia cowslip, or Roanoke bells, these plants grow to 2 feet.

Virginia Bluebells thrive in USDA zones 3 to 8 and prefer rich, loamy soil amended with compost (6.5 to 7.5).

Please provide them full sun to boost flower growth, especially in spring and summer.

5. Spanish Bluebell

Spanish Bluebells are native to the Iberian Peninsula and are known as the late-blooming spring bulb.

Although native to Spain, these Bluebells are similar to the English Bluebell flowers in color and appearance.

However, they grow straight stalks, unlike English Bluebells that curve towards the end.

Spanish bluebell
Spanish bluebell flowers grow from multiple sides.

Similarly, Spanish Bluebell flowers may emerge from multiple sides of the stalk but just one side.

Do not be confused if you find them in shades of pink and white!

Spanish Bluebells will be grown in USDA zones 3 to 8 with moist, well-drained, and organically rich soil.

Ensure to provide at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to witness lush foliage and blossoms in spring and summer.

6. Hybrid Bluebell

The hybrid Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta x hispanica) crosses the common and Spanish Bluebell.

It was first recorded in the wild in 1963, after which the charm for hybrid Bluebell has risen sharply among the anthophiles.

Hybrid Bluebells were named by the Belgian botanist D. Geerinck in 1997.

Hybrid bluebell
Hybrid Bluebell combines features of Spanish Bluebells and native Bluebells.

However, unlike other Bluebells, hybrid Bluebells exhibit different shapes, scents, and sizes.

It displays a more Spanish Bluebell appearance, like broader leaves with only a subtle fragrance and signature drooping blossoms.

The flower petals are smaller in size with rolled-back tips, and stems are usually upright but droopy.

A mature plant will reach about 19 inches in height and boast about 15 to 20mm long clusters.

They perform well in USDA zones 5 to 8 with partial shade and moist yet well-drained soil.

7. Campanula

Did you know the name “Campanula” stand for the Latin word “little bell?”

Campanula Bluebell is a diverse genus with over 500 species distributed across America, Africa, and Asia.

They are native to Northern hemisphere woodlands across alpine and artic, where they are known to grow about 2 cm to 6 feet tall.

Campanula
Campanula displays diverse Bluebell species with different colors.

However, not all Campanula display similar flower shapes or sizes; some sport bell, star, and tubular saucer-shaped blossoms.

Thankfully, they are cold hardy, and may withstand the temperature of USDA zone 5 or less.

Care to provide evenly moist soil with good drainage and a pH between 6-8 to witness healthy growth.

You can apply a light application of a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer in early spring to boost flower production.

8. Mexican Bluebell

Mexican Bluebell (Ruellia simplex) is a beautiful flowering species from the family Acanthaceae that displays signature Bluebell flowers.

It is native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America and boasts shrubby growth with a woody base.

Unlike other Bluebells, the Mexican counterpart is fast-growing and will attain a height of 3 to 4 feet within a few years.

However, garden-grown Mexican Bluebell will hardly grow over 3 feet.

Mexican bluebell
The Mexican Bluebell is a fast-growing bluebell species native to Southern North America.

The mature flowers display five petals that are metallic blue to purple. The blossom is trumpet-shaped and about 2 inches in diameter.

Care to provide moist soil condition that is neither too wet nor dry and allow full sunlight.

Once established, it may even resist droughts and blossom throughout spring until early winter.

Bluebell Flower Benefits

Despite its association with dark magic and fairytales, the mesmerizing Bluebell flowers have been used for various medicinal uses for ages.

In fact, Bluebells are known to provide varied benefits to gardeners. Here are a few examples.

1. Beneficial Pollinators

The scented Bluebell flowers with deep blue, purple, white, or pink colors attract many pollinators in the garden.

Many gardeners grow Bluebells around their garden to attract woodland butterflies, bees, and hoverflies, which help with cross-pollination.

Growing them in your garden will help bring beneficial bugs to other flowering plants.

2. Medicinal Herb

Bluebell blossoms have been used for various medicinal purposes throughout history.

Traditional medicinal practitioners used flower bulbs for a diuretic (increase urination) and styptic purposes (stop bleeding).

The bulbs have also been used as a traditional medicine to fight leukemia and other respiratory diseases.

Moreover, Bluebells were used to treat snake bites as well.

3. Ornamental Purposes

The Bluebells flowers offer great ornamental benefits.

Did you know Bluebells are the favorite flower of the late Queen Elizabeth of England?

Many gardeners harvest these plants to create garlands for decorating gateways and flower vases.

4. Various Uses

The sap obtained from the plant has been used as glue to stick paper.

Moreover, the sap contains toxic materials used to poison the arrowheads.

The starch obtained from the Bluebell bulbs can be used in laundering.

Frequently Asked Questions About BlueBells

Are Bluebell Flowers Invasive?

Bluebells can be a great addition to your garden, but beware, some species are known to be invasive.

The larger Spanish Bluebell is considered an invasive species which can quickly spread by underground runners.

In fact, it quickly grows in full sun and shade and will multiply throughout spring and summer.

Many countries in Pacific Northwest have considered this plant as an invasive weed.

Are the Bluebell Flowers Toxic?

Bluebell plants may look mesmerizing, but they are better for keeping away from children and pets.

All parts of the Bluebell contain cardiac glycosides, which can cause stomach upset and other gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain and vomiting.

How Long do Bluebells Last?

This beautiful plant typically lasts for years, whereas some Bluebell species may take 4 to 5 years to reach maturity.

Talking about blossoms, the flowering will last 2 to 9 months, from spring to winter, depending on the species.

Most Bluebells will bloom in early summer until fall.

bluebell
Bluebell flowers emit sweet fragrance that repels.

Read more to learn about Cosmos flower meaning and symbolism

Conclusion

Bluebell flowers come in wide varieties and colors, making them perfect flowering plants for your garden.

Each Bluebell color symbolizes a different yet essential meaning; therefore, choose them wisely.

Otherwise, you can use your spare garden space to create a small meadow of Bluebell flower sea.

Follow this guide to find your choice of Bluebell type and learn how to grow them best.

Related Article: 20+ Bell-Shaped Flowers for Indoor and Outdoor Gardening.

 

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