The Bluebell flower has multiple meanings: humility and sometimes gratitude. But this plant also means constancy and everlasting love or spirituality and purity. Giving a Bluebell bouquet means unfailing devotion and undying love.
About the Bluebell Flower
The Bluebell flower – Hyacinthoides non-scripta – belongs to the Asparagaceae family. This European perennial is popular in the British Isles. Its genus name is a translation of unmarked hyacinth from Greek.
Blooming through April and May, these joyful flowers can have a calming effect. Bluebell is a literal description of the plant’s blooming flowers, bell-shaped and bold blue color.
History and Origin
In Scotland, it’s believed the Bluebell – harebells – hide witches that have transformed into hares (rabbits). Or they were also called Old Man’s Bells in some areas. A ringing sound meant the devil was on his way; or a sign of death.
And in the Victorian period, where flower language developed, you could use Bluebells to express feelings of humility, childhood memories, or grief. Other names include English bluebell or wild hyacinth (despite not being related).
The Bluebell grows from bulbs between April and June, growing up to 50 centimeters. As the name implies, these plants produce blue – deep indigo – flowers. But it can also be white, light violet, and pink. While the flowers have six curved tepals in a tubular shape that forms a bell
The shape of the flowers also inspires the name, with clusters of tiny, six-petaled (fused) narrow bell-shaped blooms that are the perfect shape for hummingbirds to drink nectar. Leaves have a hairless, smooth, and pointed shape.
White strips of pollen run along the inside of the flowers, providing a dedicated aroma that attracts various pollinators.
These plants start as bulbs, forming several linear leaves and a 20″ tall central spire that droops on one side, becoming heavy with several inflorescent fragrant hanging flowers. While it’s more common to see 5 to 12 flowers per plant, there’s also the potential from 3 to 32 blooms.
Bluebell Flower Care
Bluebells grow best in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9. It is a versatile plant that doesn’t care where you plant it – shade gardens, wildflower meadows, borders, containers, beds, bee and butterfly gardens, or at the bottom of deciduous trees.
Be aware that these plants spread easily, so you’ll want to choose a place to keep them contained (unless you want a wild-growing carpet of blue).
Sew your bulbs in late summer to get blooms every spring once your plants get established. These low-maintenance plants are easy to grow for informal gardens. They do best in soil that’s well-draining. Soil pH does not matter as much, doing well in the dirt that’s slightly alkaline to slightly acidic.
Choose a spot with partial shade, such as under leafy trees. Keep the dirt slightly moist but not soggy, adding water as the first few inches of soil dry out. Use a basic, balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer on the ground before shoots start to emerge in the spring.
Uses Throughout History
There have been multiple uses of the Bluebell flower throughout history. However, as with most flowers, the main purpose of the Bluebell was ornamental purposes.
But because this plant also has medicinal properties, it has also served as a medicine in the past. For example, it was commonly used as a styptic or diuretic or to fix hormonal imbalances.
However, now that we know this plant has toxic properties that make them poisonous, it’s not common to use for medicine today.
Yet, scientists are studying if the Bluebell can fight cancer and HIV due to the bulbs’ styptic abilities that can stop bleeding or increases urination due to diuretic properties.
This flower also produces a sticky sap that was once used to bind ancient book pages and attach feathers to hunting arrows.
The Bluebell is one of the few flowers associated with the color blue, which is rare in the plant kingdom. These flowers remind you to be grateful to a person in your life, whether for their presence or actions.
The way that the flowers bow to the floor also represents humility. And the bloom’s habit of flowering at the same time for years to come, spreading out in a glorious carpet of blue, gives these plants meanings of reliability and everlasting love.
Kindness and Faithfulness
The bluebell can also mean kindness and faithfulness. It inspires you to treat others kindly and love those around you.
It reminds you to be thankful for all the blessings you have in your life and be a good person. A bluebell flower appearing in your dreams can be symbolic of positive changes coming into your life due to all the good deeds you do.
In fairy folklore, it’s believed the bluebell tree is how fairies trap humans to enslave them. So if you hear the ringing of a bluebell, expect to meet your death from the visit of a bad fairy.
Mythology says that you can use Bluebells to summon fairies by ringing the flower bell. And if you see an area that’s heavily grown with these plants, it’s believed to stay away, so you don’t incur fairy wrath.
Picking a wild bluebell can cause you to be led astray by fairies, causing you to be lost forever, often a playtoy for fairies to do with as they wish.
A ringing Bluebell sound meant you were about to lose someone close to you to death. For this reason, many people would burn Bluebells found growing around their homes.
Bluebell Flowers’s Color Meaning
Most flowers have associations based on the type of species. But you can also see the meaning change based on the plant’s color.
Use blue Bluebells to communicate gratitude, grief, constancy, and humility wordlessly. It can also mean the expression “down and blue.”
White bluebells are less common but still quite a stunning sight to behold. This color flower can represent constancy, humility, spirituality, purity, and grace.
Purple and lilac flowers are symbolic of gratitude. But it can also mean jealousy and apologies. Or use it for moving forward and forgiveness.
Pink blooms are excellent for conveying unspoken meanings of everlasting love. It can also mean playful joy or harmless mischief, typically associated with dubious and frisky fairies.
Get to know more about the Bluebell flower by checking out people’s commonly asked questions about this lovely plant.
When Should You Give Someone a Bluebell?
If you want to gift someone bluebells, choose a source from your garden or a seller. However, you shouldn’t pick wild bluebells, seen as bad luck in many cultures.
Use Bluebells as a gift for someone celebrating a birthday from late April to early May or to show your excitement over the arrival of the abundance of the arriving spring. You can also use them for Easter, birthdays, Mother’s Day, and anniversaries.
What Does a Bluebell Flower Tattoo Represent?
Bluebell flower tattoos represent faith, gratitude, humility, enduring love, hope, and grace.
Are Bluebell Flowers Poisonous?
The bluebell plant contains glycosides, a toxic component for animals and humans. In small doses, a serious upset stomach is common. But if consumed in large quantities, it could be fatal.
Are Bluebell Flowers Annuals or Perrenials?
Bluebell flowers are perennials that reliably return around the same time each year, spreading out more each season.
Bluebell flowers are delicate, whimsical trumpet-shaped blooms that droop towards the ground to symbolize humility and gratitude. It can also mean everlasting love, hope, or kindness to others.
Present your loved ones with a bouquet of bluebell flowers from your garden or a florist. Or give them an entire plant! Just beware of picking wild bluebell flowers, lest fairies target you.