If you’d want to grow campanula bellflowers in your garden, here are some tips. When it comes to growing and caring for campanula, we turn to Sue Wooster from Bellflower Nursery at The Walled Garden in Suffolk. She tells us where to plant them and how to keep them healthy.
Things You Will Need
- To serve a broad range of purposes. Five to ten to one fertilizer
- Organic mulch
- shears for pruning
- Extraction of horticultural oil
- a pair of gloves for gardening
- Eye protection
Even while purple campanulas may handle some shade, it is best to keep them out of direct sunlight if you want them to thrive. Increase watering during periods of high temperatures or dryness, even if the plants are tolerant to dry circumstances.
To keep your plants safe, avoid using horticultural oil when the temperature rises beyond 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
When working with pruning shears or horticultural oil, make sure you’re using gardening gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes.
WHAT IS A CAMPANULA BELLFLOWER PLANT?
Perennial bellflowers, often known as campanulas, are brightly colored plants that brighten up any garden border. Cool nights and moderate day temperatures are ideal for Alpine native Campanula, which bloom from June to July, although some are capable of blooming well into October.
The harebell and the peach-leaved bellflower, Campanula persicifolia, are two examples of bellflowers with single hanging bells.
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Purples, mauves, gentle blues and pinks, all the way to white, make up a stunning color spectrum. A wide variety of hardy perennials can be combined with these colors to create beautiful herbaceous borders.
WHERE DO CAMPANULAS COME FROM ORIGINALLY?
Their natural habitat is in the northern hemisphere, where they may be found primarily in Europe’s Alps and Mediterranean countries.
Harebell (also known as “bluebell” in Scotland) and Campanula patula (the spreading bellflower) are native bellflowers that can be found in the British Isles, although only in isolated patches along the Welsh border.
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HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR A CAMPANULA PLANT: 7 TIPS
- Make sure the soil or compost you use for alpine plants has good drainage by adding fine horticultural grit and sand.
- Plant them in the open in full sun in a scree, rock garden, or raised bed for the best results.
- It is preferable to use clay pans, but they must be able to drain properly.
- There must be some sunlight for border campanulas to thrive. For shade, one or two bellflowers, including Campanula latifolia (foxglove-like habit), particularly the white type, as well as Campanula rapunculoides ‘Alba,’ are good options for planting.
- Most plants like well-drained soil, but a fall or spring mulch of handmade compost or well-rotted manure can help them thrive even under less ideal conditions.
- Plants that become overcrowded need to be divided on a regular basis, whether alpine or border.
- For the most part, neutral to slightly acidic conditions are required.
CAN THEY BE GROWN IN CONTAINERS?
Dwarf campanulas of all shapes and sizes are suitable. If you’re using a sink or clay pan, a group of five or so works best. The mat-forming Campanula cochlearifolia (fairy thimbles), C. x wockei ‘Puck’, a taller form like a white harebell or C. collina, and an edge-softener, for example C. poscharskyana ‘Blue Gown’, are all good options.
Container-friendly border campanulas exist. C. pyramidalis, the two-meter bellflower, was traditionally planted in large clay pots and hauled into the house to stand in the vacant fireplace for the summer.
WHICH CAMPANULA VARIETIES ARE BEST FOR A HERBACEOUS BORDER?
The milky bellflower, Campanula lactiflora, is extremely adaptable. It blooms in late June and early July with sprays of mid-blue starry flowers and reaches a height of 1.5m, although it also takes a Chelsea chop well.
‘Loddon Anna’, a tall cultivar of C. lactiflora, has masses of sprays of mid-pink stars and is as useful and beautiful in the back of the border. It is possible to extend the flowering period into the end of summer by cutting back the dying stems. With its 1.2-foot height and sprays of deep-blue star-shaped flowers, C. lactiflora ‘Prichard’s Variety’ is one of the most impressive varieties. If you’re unsure whether you’re buying it in the correct form, go with the flower version if you can.
DO CAMPANULA HAVE ANY PEST OR DISEASE PROBLEMS?
Sharp grit and beer traps help keep slugs and snails away from some of the dwarf alpine varieties. Some border campanulas are susceptible to orange-colored rust on the undersides of their leaves.
Fresh, rust-free stems will develop if the plant is pruned back to the ground and cleaned compost is applied.
SUE WOOSTER AND CAMPANULA GARDENING… A BIT MORE ABOUT SUE WOOSTER…
Have you always enjoyed gardening?
My father and grandfather pushed me to cultivate annuals and radishes when I was a child. When my purple petunias opened their first blooms when I was seven, I was overjoyed.
After graduating from high school, I pursued a degree in languages at university and worked in London for a few years before returning home to start a cottage garden with my children.
How long have you run the nursery?
The Blackwell family owned the Walled Garden until just last year, making it even more precious. I first met them in 2007 after hearing about their need for help with their garden from a colleague in the nursery industry.
Fortunately, the current proprietors are just as helpful as their predecessors.
When did you become interested in campanulas?
When I was a college student studying abroad in the Italian Dolomites in the 1980s, I witnessed my first alpine campanulas. Bellflowers Campanula raineri and Campanula morretiana, as well as the harebell and bearded bellflower C. barbata, can be found in this mountainous location.
I realized fifteen years ago that horticulture was what I wanted to do as a career after taking a horticulture course at a college near Ipswich. Peter Lewis wrote a book on campanulas that I found in the library by chance.
When I contacted him and his wife Susan about shutting their nursery in Cambridgeshire and retiring, they were the national collection holders. When they found someone who was interested in cultivating the plants, they were overjoyed.
There are around 300 species of Campanula, ranging in size and color from annuals to perennials, that are part of this family. Lavender or light blue blooms with a pink or white center are the key distinguishing feature. Lower-growing plants can be used as great ground cover as they spread over the seasons. Bellflowers often start blooming in July and continue to do so until the first frost.
Conditions for Growing Bellflowers
Ideally, bellflowers should be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 and up, however they can be protected and still thrive in zone 3. In locations with harsh winters, these hardy plants make excellent specimens. For the best flower output, they need full light and well-drained soil with moderate moisture in a sunny location. Bellflowers can withstand periods of drought after they are established. Bellflowers can be grown in soil with any pH level, even severely acidic.
Bellflower care does not necessitate any specialized knowledge. They are hardy plants that can withstand a wide range of harsh weather and desert conditions, like most perennials. Keeping bellflowers healthy means deadheading them to encourage new blooms and extend the life of the arrangement. The plant can also be rejuvenated by chopping it down to the ground in the fall and winter. Invasive types of bellflower, on the other hand, necessitate the removal of their seed heads.
Varieties of Bellflower Plants
Bellflowers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A few of the most popular are: A very frequent Campanula is the bluebell, sometimes known as a blue poppy. Throughout North America, you’ll find these tiny wildflowers blooming in upland fields. British-native Scotch bluebell grows to to 10 inches (25.5 cm) tall. For container gardens and in rockery crevices, Dwarf Bellflower is a good choice. It only grows to a height of 7.5 centimeters but can spread to a width of 15 centimeters. A cold-hardy species, the Carpathian harebell can grow up to 12 inches (30.5 cm) tall. Although American bellflower is a prolific seeder, the 1-inch (2.5 cm) broad, true-blue blossoms are worth the extra work to keep it under control.