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Problem with Bluebells

I'm not sure if they're English or Spanish bluebells but this year 4 large clumps have come up right in the middle of my main summer perennial boarder, squeezing everything that has previously grown there out.

I know in the wild you're not allowed to dig them out, but at the moment I'm thinking that digging them up, or even worse weed killing them, is the only option. It's quite a small garden so all space is precious and I'd much rather have the plants I've put in over the years than four clumps of the same thing. I fear that if I leave them they will take over completely.

The question is, is there an easier way to deal with them other than the methods I've already mentioned?


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,086

    How strange, are there any others nearby? English ones are slimmer with drooping heads and longer slimmer bells. Spanish are more upright, pretty, but can be thugs. Do you know anyone who wants them? If you don't, then just dig them out and chuck them - but not on the compost heap!

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • patty3patty3 Posts: 129

    Hi Leggi

    The rules about not digging up wild flowers from the countryside,( stealing them) is right .

    You can dig up yours and pot them up, you and the bees can enjoy them, with out them crowding the border.

    Please try not to resort to poisons, look what they are doing to our bees and other

    innocent insects.

  • Yes Patty3 is right dig deep with your fork then sieve the soil until you have collected and sorted all off the little white Bulbs (Bliss).

  • LeggiLeggi Posts: 489

    Hi Lizzie, no there aren't any others nearby. These must have either been dormant in the soil or spread from seed. There is an alleyway that runs behind that patch of the garden but I've had a peek down there and it's just all concrete. I've had a closer look and there appears to be two types, a much smaller leafed variety (which I assume is the English type) and the other two with larger leaves. I have potted the smaller ones up and might keep them. The bigger ones I'm not so sure about.

    Patty3, I probably won't weed kill them as I'm generally adverse to using chemicals. Not through any moral objection, just that I normally find there is a non-chemical solution which is just as easy (like digging upimage ).


  • Leggi - english ones are slighhtly smaller and have the flowers on one side of the stem only.  The spanish ones are larger and have flowers all round the stem, so a bit more showy.

    I like Patty's suggestion - pot them up and enjoy the scent this year, and then see if any of your friends would like them. They are great at the back of a border in shade (they are a woodland plant so used to overhead cover).  Don't forget the bulbs are very poisonous so keep them well out of the way of small children.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,887

    Just to add, if they are Spanish, please do not dispose of them anywhere they could spread or hybridise with our native English bluebells. image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Fully agree with Dove.  There are Spanish ones in my garden and even though I keep digging them up, they keep appearing elsewhere and I'm seeing fewer and fewer English bluebells coming up, but plenty that look like hybrids.  The Spanish ones are real thugs around here.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • LeggiLeggi Posts: 489

    Thanks Dove and Bob, yesterday I potted up the smaller ones and this evening the big ones (leaves about 3/4'' wide) went in heavy duty black sacks. I found all my perennial plants underneath so I'm quite pleased and there's a bit more space for some new things too. 


  • Sounds like a happy resolution all round.

    I have found some pale pink english bluebells  - but of course they have self-seeded into the gravel driveway, almost impossible to lift and move.  Such a lovely colour too.

    Hey ho - these things are sent to try us!

  • LeggiLeggi Posts: 489

    Sorry GG, I forgot to reply to you image

    Thanks for the tip about how to identify English or Spanish bells, I'll have a keener more persistent eye for them next year. The pink ones sound lovely too, and if everything grew exactly where we wanted we'd probably all have too much time on our hands image

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