Campanula Canterbury bell

Height: 45-90cm (17-3ft)

Planting: distance 30cm (1ft)

Features: flowers spring to summer

Soil: ordinary, well-drained

Site: sun or partial shade

Type: biennial

The Canterbury bell (Campanula medium) is a typical cottage garden plant – easily grown, and showy in flower. It is best planted in small groups throughout a border, which it seems to fill with its blue, bell-like flowers in late spring and early summer, without leaving large gaps when it has finished blooming.

Campanula medium ‘Cup and Saucer Mixed’ (For other campanulas, see A-Z of Garden Plants Perennials.)

Popular varieties:

Tall and compact varieties of Canterbury bell are available.

‘Bells of Holland’ is a mixture with a compact habit reaching 45cm (1 !/:ft) high – ideal for small gardens. The single flowers come in rose-pink, deep blue, white and mauve.

‘Cup and Saucer Mixed’ is the traditional Canterbury bell variety grown in cottage gardens. The semi-double flowers are delicate shades of pink, blue and white and the plants reach 90cm (3ft) high. Dwarf Bedding Mixed’, 45cm (1 1/2ft) high, is ideal for small gardens and container growing.


Sow seeds outside in a seedbed in late spring or early summer. Move to the flowering site in autumn, or the following spring, planting in groups of at least five. Set each plant 30cm (1 ft) apart. Any ordinary, well-drained soil is suitable, in sun or light shade.

Pests and diseases: Slugs and snails may damage the leaves. Leaf-spot fungus and rust sometimes develop.

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