Deer Resistant Spanish Bluebells

Got deer and want spring flowers? Try planting hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish Bluebells).

While some deer herds may develop a taste for these, I've never had a problem with any nibbles on the bluebells by deer or rabbits since the first bloom season in spring 2006. I planted my bluebells in autumn of 2005 and they've been multiplying ever since.

While I have the blue color, there are also white and pink colors available. The blue works well with any other color in my garden. I like them at the feet of shrubs, under trees, and out in the full sun gardens. These bulbs can be planted in dry shade, too. When I think about it, I am growing bluebells in just about every location in my garden! They are planted underneath a sweet bay magnolia and a curly willow tree in the fragrance garden; along the stream in the water fall garden; and among daffodils and nepeta in the butterfly and outer gardens. These flowers never disappointment me.

The tiny bulbs are easy to plant. I tend to use the trench method, meaning that I dig a section and then place the bulbs 4 inches deep and about 5 per square foot. I find this easier than trying to plant the small bulbs by digging individual holes. The only problem with dividing them in the fall is to remember where they are planted!

Bluebell bulbs, planted in the fall, can be grown in zones 3-8 and the bloom time will vary by zone. Mine bloom in mid-April while cooler zones will see blooms in May. The 15" high stalks of blooms aren't wimpy. They stand bold and straight in the garden and foliage isn't unattractive. The bluebells seem to bloom for several weeks and I leave the foliage until it yellows. By then, the rest of the garden has filled in and the dying foliage isn't that noticeable.

Once you've got a garden full of Spanish bluebells, you'll start using them as cut flowers in your spring bouquets!

Story and photos by Freda Cameron


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