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Blue Bell Flower: Types, Meanings & Benefits

Every time you drive by the woodlands and hedgerows, the rich sea of Blue Bell Flower captivates the anthophile within you. 

Blue Bell flowers are bell-shaped perennial herbs that droop to one side when matured throughout the spring. Associated with European fairytales of hope and happiness, these flowers attract many pollinators and have several species with unique characteristics.

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

Blue Bell Flower Meaning & Symbolism

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

You would mostly find Blue Bell 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.

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

Bluebell flower
Blue Bell flowers emit a sweet fragrance that repels predators and attracts pollinators.

Countless folklore portrays Blue Bell 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 Blue Bell in the same way you would a regular bell.

Although rare, some species may also boast flowers in the shade of white, purple, and pink, but most gardeners prefer Blue Bell flowers, each embedding different mystery and meaning.

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.

7 Types of Blue Bell Flowers

Apart from all the popular mythology, the shade of blue and unique bell-shaped flowers will help brighten your garden. 

The Blue Bell Flower is one of the many bell-shaped/dome-shaped flowers or star-shaped bulbous perennials from the genus Hyacinthoides.

Here are a few different species of Blue Bells with helpful tips to grow them.

1. English Blue Bell

English Blue Bells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are the most commonly photographed Blue Bell variety.

Unlike any other Blue Bell species, it is known for its deep-blue or purplish flower bending to a side and is commonly found in the wild. 

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 Blue Bells display flowers drooping to one side.

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 get it from Amazon.

You can help boost flower production using phosphorous-rich slow-release fertilizers in spring.

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

2. Scottish Blue Bell

Originally from the Scottish woodlands, the Scottish Blue Bell or ‘Harebell’ boasts long, narrow stems with drooping leaf fronds.

These Blue Bells thrive 12 inches tall and 15 inches wide in temperate regions such as USDA zone 3a (-40°F) and above with little watering.

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

Interestingly, these flowers display five or more pale to mid-violet-blue petals fused.

3. Texas Blue Bell

Texas Blue Bell (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. Further, watering the plant only after 10-12 days is recommended to avoid standing water.

The Texas Blue Bell attains a height of 1-2 feet, and displays erect stems, and waxy blooms.

Texas bluebell
Texas Blue Bell 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. 

The plant is perennial in its native range, while other regions may only witness annual Blue Bells.

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

4. Virginia Blue Bell

Virginia Blue Bell (Mertensia virginica), also known as Eastern Blue Bell, Virginia Cowslip, or Roanoke Bells, is native to Eastern North America.

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

Each blossom displays a pink bud that opens to a beautiful trumpet-shaped flower growing up to 2 feet tall.

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

You must provide them with full sun to boost flower growth, especially in spring and summer.

5. Spanish Blue Bell

Many confuse these Blue Bells for English Blue Bell flowers, but the Spanish ones grow straight stalks, while the other has a curve towards the end.

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

The bloom may emerge from multiple sides of the stalk but just one side when provided at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.

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

6. Hybrid Blue Bell

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

It was first recorded in the wild in 1963 and named by the Belgian botanist D. Geerinck in 1997.

Hybrid bluebell
Unlike other Blue Bells, hybrid Blue Bells exhibit different shapes, scents, and sizes.

It displays a more Spanish Blue Bell appearance, with broader leaves, subtle fragrance, and signature drooping blossoms.

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

A mature plant will reach about 19 inches in height and boast about 15 to 20mm long clusters in USDA zones 5 to 8 with partial shade and moist yet well-drained soil.

7. Mexican Blue Bell

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

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

However, garden-grown Mexican Blue Bell will hardly grow over 3 feet even under proper environmental conditions like moist but not soggy soil and bright sunlight.

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

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

Blue Bell Flower Benefits

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

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

  • Attracting Pollinators: The scented Blue Bell flowers with vibrant hues attract many pollinators in the garden. Many gardeners grow Blue Bells around their gardens to attract woodland butterflies, bees, and hoverflies, which help with cross-pollination.
  • Decorative Use: Blue Bell can elevate the plain corner of any room. You can use them at the entrance for welcoming vibes or present them as garlands to your guest.
  • Miscellaneous Use: Over the years, sap from the plant has been used as a glue to stick paper. The starch from the bulb of the plant can be used in laundering.

FAQs About Blue Bells

Are Blue Bell Flowers Invasive?

Many states in the Pacific Northwest have considered Blue Bell an invasive weed as it can quickly spread by underground runners.

It quickly grows in full sun and shade and will multiply throughout spring and summer.

Can you eat Blue Bells?

All parts of the Blue Bell contain glycosides named scillaren, which can cause stomach upset and other gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain and vomiting.

It may further elevate into irregular heartbeat with fatal results. Hence, your should keep yourself and your pet away from its ingestion.

How Long do Blue Bells Last?

Blue Bell species may take 4 to 5 years to reach maturity, and the plant itself lasts for a long time.

Depending on the species, the flowering will last 2 to 9 months, blooming in early summer until fall.

From Editorial Team

Blue Bell flowers come in various colors, making them perfect flowering plants for your garden.

But keep your fur babies and the Blue Bell Flower out of each other’s reach to help them co-exist.

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