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While the delicate blue flowers are quite striking, it's the foliage that attracts most people to this plant.

Mertensia is named for the 19th-century botanist Franz Carl Mertens.

Flowers, leaves, and roots are edible. The Inuit of Alaska eat the plant's roots.

Oyster Plant
Mertensia maritima


Blue-green ovate leaves are formed on flowering stems emanating from a modest rosette of leaves. Stems lie close to the ground in 15-inch mounds, and from spring to early summer bear small bluebell-like flowers in the leaf axils. The foliage is the more important feature of this plant.

Plant Type: perennial

Plant Form or Habit: low and trailing

Plant Use: Rock garden, front of the border, along foundation plantings.

Light Requirement: full sun

Flower Color:
light blue
Bloom Period:
late spring
early summer
Height: Minimum: 2 inches      Maximum: 4 inches

Width: Minimum: 8 inches     Maximum: 4 inches

Foliage Texture: coarse

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4

Water Requirements: low

Additional Comments: Prefers well-drained soil. Sow seed in spring; divide in fall. Root cuttings planted in fall may be transplanted in spring. Susceptible to slug damage. Our planting bloomed from June into August. Seed obtained from Jelitto.

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