Bluebell Propagation Methods

The bluebell is a popular spring flowering perennial that has blue, bell-shaped flowers and a strong, pleasant smell. They are usually used as a ground cover because they spread easily. Bluebells do well in North America and are easy to propagate. Bluebell reproduce by creating smaller offset bulbs as well as seeds. They can be propagated by seed or by bulb division.

Propagating by Seed

Bluebell seeds can be planted in the fall or in the early spring. They need moist, well-drained soil in a partially shaded area. The seeds only need to be covered with a light layer of soil, about 1/8 inch. When the seeds first sprout, they look very similar to grass blades. For this reason, some people prefer to grow them in a seedling tray or in pots and then transfer them to the garden later. Keep the soil moist for the seedlings. Once the plants are in the garden, water them once a week. Bluebell plants grown from seeds will start flowering after two years, and then will self seed and spread on their own or can be further propagated by bulb division.

Propagating by Division

You can divide the bulbs from existing plants in your garden or from store-bought plants. Bulbs can be planted in the fall or early spring. Plant each bulb about 3 inches deep and at least 6 inches apart. Cover them with soil and water lightly if the soil is dry. Spread a light layer of mulch over the soil after the shoots have emerged to increase moisture retention and deter weeds. Water plants about once per week during spring and early summer to prevent the soil from drying out. Stop watering them after flowering has ended.

Where to Plant Bluebells

Bluebells should be planted in an area that is at least partially shaded. The best areas for them are under trees, in rock gardens and in spaces where you want ground cover. They are hardy plants and will do well almost anywhere, but they are not suitable for growing indoors.

Additional Care

Bluebell flowers can be fertilized once during early spring when the plant first emerges from the soil, and again after flowers begin to fade. The best fertilizer to use is an all-purpose, 10-10-10 NPK bulb fertilizer. NPK stand for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package. Too much fertilizer will harm the plants.

Pinching off the dead bluebell flowers will encourage the plants to form new blossoms and lengthen the blooming season. Pinch them off right where they join the stem.

Avoid over watering the plants. Bluebells like to be moist, but too much water will rot the bulbs and cause the plants to die. If the surface of the soil is still wet from the previous watering, or from rain, then they don't need to be watered again.