Bright and sunny merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) really add sparkle to my springtime shade garden. With their lemon yellow color and 2” dangling bells, the flowers look divine planted along side Virginia Bluebells.Also known as bellworts, this native wildflower grows throughout eastern North America in moist, deciduous woods.
Plant merrybells in part to full shade under deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in the fall).The botanical name, Uvularia, comes from comparing the flower shape to the uvula in the back of our throat.
Fern Fiddles emerge in Spring
Merrybells will bloom for about 2 weeks when the fern fiddles are beginning to emerge.A typical clump grows about 12 –18 inches tall with a similar spread.
Triangular green seedpods follow the flowers; seeds will drop or are carried away to new locations by ants.Bees appreciate the pollen provided by this spring blooming native wildflower.
While the stems rising out of the ground look a lot like Solomon seal, you can identify the difference in these two plants by the way the leaf attaches to the stem.Merrybell’s stem has a zigzag stem appearance between the leaves and it pokes through the leaf instead of being attached by a petiole in the Solomon seal.
Uvularia emerging in Spring
Merrybells has 4 native species that grow in USDA hardiness zones 3 – 8.Many common names include haybells, wild oats, strawflower and bellworts.Native American’s used the plant medicinally as a salve for wounds and sores.
Please don’t collect wildflowers from the wild.Merrybells are readily purchased from garden centers or over the Internet.Check with a local garden club or a plant rescue group that preserves plants during development for more options to find this beautiful shady garden gem.