Bellflower

27 Feb

Bellflower (Campanula), 4 to 18 inches, purple flowers, sun to light shade, very easy, great edging paths or draping over rock walls.

Vast and varied group (about 300 species) encompassing trailers, creeping or tufted miniature perennials, and erect kinds 1 to 6 ft. high or taller. Usually, flower stalks rise above basal leaf rosettes; basal leaves often differ from stem leaves. The perennial species tend to spread indefinitely from the root; width depends mainly on vigor of their rootstocks and time they have been in one spot. Flowers are generally bell shaped, though some are star shaped, cupped, or round and flat. Bloom comes at some time from spring to fall, depending on species. Most species are grown fairly easily from seeds sown in spring or early summer.

Campanula carpatica

Compact, spreading, leafy tufts, to 6 in. tall. Flower stems upright, branching; usually about 8 in. tall, but may rise 1 to 1 1/2 ft. Foliage smooth, bright green, with wavy, toothed edges, 1 to 1 1/2 in. long. Basal leaves round, often drying up before bloom; stem leaves oval to triangular. Flowers profuse, upward facing, bell or cup shaped, 1–2 in.; light blue, violet, or white. Late spring bloom.

Campanula glomerata

Upright, with erect side branches to 1–2 ft. Basal leaves broad, wavy edged; stem leaves broad, toothed. Both somewhat hairy. Flowers are narrow, 1-in. bells, flaring at the mouth, in violet, blue, white, tightly clustered at tops of stems. Spring through summer blooming.

Campanula isophylla

Trailing or hanging soft stems to 2 ft. long, becoming woody at base. Round or heart shaped, light green, toothed, leaves, 1–1 1/2 in. long and wide. Loose clusters of upward-facing, 1-in.-wide stars in white or light blue, depending on variety. Blooms in late summer, fall (nearly year-round in mildest climates).

Good in hanging baskets, wall pots, top of walls, or rock gardens in filtered shade. Choice ground cover for small areas on slopes in mild-winter climates. Indoor/outdoor plant where winters are cold.

Campanula medium

Sturdy, hairy, leafy, with erect stems 2 1/2–4 ft. tall, 1 ft. wide. Lance-shaped, wavy-edged basal leaves 6–10 in. long; stem leaves smaller (3–5 in.). Bell shaped or urn shaped, 1–2 in. flowers are single or double, held upright in long, loose, open clusters. Purple, violet, blue, lavender, pink, or white, depending on variety. Late spring or early summer blooming.

Sow seed in late spring for bloom following year, or set out nursery plants 15–18 in. apart. Good for cutting.

Campanula persicifolia

Campanula persicifolia

Campanula persicifolia

Strong-growing, slender, erect stems 2–3 ft. tall. Plants leafy at base. Basal leaves smooth-edged, green, 4–8 in. long. Stem leaves 2–4 in. long, shaped like leaves of peach tree. Flowers are open, cup shaped, about 1 in. across, held erect by short side shoots on sturdy stems. Blue, pink, or white, depending on variety. Summer blooming.

Choice plant for borders. Easy to grow from seed sown in late spring.

Campanula portenschlagiana

Low, leafy, mounding or trailing mats 4–6 in. high. Semierect, branching flower stems to 8 in. high. Tiny leaves are roundish, heart-shaped, deep green with deeply toothed, slightly wavy edges. Flowers are shaped like flaring bells, violet blue or grayish white, to 1 in. long; several to each stem. Blooms late spring into summer, sometimes  again in fall.

Fine plant for edging or as small-scale ground cover. Spreads moderately fast and is sturdy, permanent, and noninvasive. Easily increased by dividing.

Campanula poscharskyana

Spreading, mounding, leafy clump to 8 in. high. Branching, semi-upright flower stems to 1 ft. or more. Elongated heart shape, irregularly toothed, slightly hairy leaves are 1–3 1/2 in. long, 3/4–3 in. wide. Star-shaped, 1/2–1-in.-wide blooms in blue lilac, lavender, or grayish white. Spring to early summer blooming.

Very vigorous. Good for shaded border near pools or in partially shaded rock gardens with fuchsias and begonias. Good ground cover for small area. Needs little water.

Campanula punctata

Flat basal rosette spreads rapidly by underground runners. Wiry 1–1 1/2-ft. flower stems arch over at tip. Foliage is dark green, toothed, 4–5 in. across, heart shaped; leaves narrower on upper stems. Flowers are 2–2 1/2-in. long, tubular, waxy, shaped like drooping bells in shades from cream through pink to deep maroon. Inside of flower is paler and spotted with crimson. Blooms late spring to early summer, with some scattered bloom until frost.

Forms a dense, weed-suppressing mat between shrubs but is too invasive for mixed borders. Some dwarf forms exist.

Campanula rotundifolia

Slowly spreading clump, 2 to 3 in. high. Slender, upright flower stems, some branched, 6 to 18 in. tall. Foliage green or gray. Basal leaves roundish, long stalked, 1 in.; may dry before bloom. Stem leaves grasslike, 2 to 3 in. Flowers broad, bell-shaped bright blue, lavender, or white flowers 1 in. long. One or a few nodding in open clusters.

Campanula takesimana

Native to much of the northern hemisphere. Flat, basal rosette spreads vigorously by underground runners, forms dense, weed-suppressing mat of rounded glossy leaves. Flowers are 2-in., pendent, pale lilac bells, spotted maroon inside. Early summer.

 

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