CAMPANULA – bellflower

These spring and summer-flowering annuals, biennials and perennials have delicate, usually blue, flowers. Use them in borders, rock gardens and as an edging to beds and paths. Many are suitable for cutting.

Suitable site and soil. They prefer moist but well-drained soil and will grow in sun or shade, though you will find the colours look better in light shade.

Cultivation and care. Plant between early autumn and spring. Taller varieties need support. Remove faded flower heads regularly.

Propagation. Sow seeds of perennials in pots in the autumn or spring. Plant out biennials and herbaceous plants in autumn. Plants with more than a single crown can be divided and replanted in either autumn or spring.

Recommended varieties. C. carpatica (height 8-10cm – 3-4in) is a perennial for edging or in a rock garden. It has large blue, white and purple flowers in midsummer. C. latifolia (giant bellflower) is a popular perennial with tubular flowers, (height 1.2-1.5m – 4-5ft). ‘Alba’ is a white form. C. medium (Canterbury bell) has white, blue or pink bell-shaped flowers in late spring and early summer; height 30-90cm – l-3ft. C. garganica is a spreading perennial with small ivy-shaped leaves and clusters of pale lavender flowers in summer.

Pests and diseases. Slugs and snails find the young shoots and leaves very attractive and palatable.

NATURALIZED CAMPANULAS

Like bluebells, campanulas look particularly attractive under trees and semi-shade brings out their delicate hues of blue. Plant them in a shady corner of the garden or let them peep out from under shrubs. C. garganica is particularly useful for naturalizing on a sloping bank or wall, while a grouping of different varieties can prolong the flowering season and add interesting contrast of height and colour within the group.

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