A small family of shade loving bulbous perennials, which includes the native English Bluebell.
Botanical Name: Hyacinthoides (hy-ah-sin-THOY-deez)
Common Names: Bluebell
Foliage: Narrow, strap-like, arching green leaves. Deciduous (dies back after flowering).
Flowers: Loose racemes of fragrant, bell-shaped, flowers. Violet-blue, pink or white.
Flowering Period: Spring.
Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.
Conditions: Partial shade. Can be planted in a north, south, east or west facing aspect.
Type: Bulbous perennial.
Origin: Western Europe and North Africa.
Hardiness: Hardy in the UK.
Toxicity: Ingestion may cause severe discomfort. Wear gloves and wash hands after handling.
Bluebells thrive in a moist but well-drained, neutral to acid humus-rich loam. Plant in a shaded spot in early autumn. Planting depth 3in (8cm).
Ideal for naturalising under deciduous trees.
Rust can infect leaves.
Separate congested clumps when dormant. Sow seeds in shallow drills when ripe in spring or allow it to self-seed naturally.
Bluebells are usually available for sale from September to November, sold 'In the Green'. They may also be available in April-May as pot grown plants.
Hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish bluebell). Erect flower-spikes with blue (pink or white), wide bell flowers facing outwards and inclined downwards in April-June. Height 8-12in (20-30cm) or more, spread 6-8in (15-20cm). Classified in some countries as an 'invasive non-native species'. Therefore care should be taken not to allow it to spread into the wild.
Hyacinthoides nonscripta (English bluebell, common bluebell or wild hyacinth). The flower spikes arch at the tip, and the bells are narrow and fully pendant. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.