Campanula persicifolia

Campanula persicifolia

A very large genus, with some 300 species, including annuals and biennials as well as perennials. Campanulas are native to southern Europe, Turkey and Asia, and are found in wide range of habitats. Therefore the different species can have very different cultivation requirements. On the whole, they are undemanding and like dappled shade or sun in a well drained, fertile soil.

Campanulas vary in habit from dwarf arctic and alpine species under 5 cm high, to large temperate grassland and woodland species growing to 2 m tall. So there is a Campanula to fit most garden situations, from wall plants to borders, with different habits of trailing, spreading or clump – forming. Taller varieties may need staking.

The flowers have a wide variety of shapes, between star-shaped to bell-shaped (The ‘Bellflower’ is the common name for the genus) and variations in between.

Campanula poscharskyana (Serbian Bellflower)

Campanula poscharskyana (Serbian Bellflower)

Campanula takesimana 'Alba' with Cotinus

Campanula takesimana ‘Alba’ with Cotinus

Campanula lactiflora - seed heads

Campanula lactiflora – seed heads

Campanula glomerata  'Superba'

Campanula glomerata ‘Superba’

Campanulas have a long flowering season – late spring through summer. Some are rather invasive, so think about where you place these and keep an eye on them – or alternatively grow them in pots or other containers; examples are C. persicifolia (which also self seeds around the garden), C. pulla and C. takesimana.

They can be subject to attack by slugs and snails. Propagate by seed or division, cutting back old flowers and foliage in the autumn. Good for alpine beds, rockeries, ground cover and in borders and also good cut flowers. Campanulas partner well with Lamb’s Ear (Stachys), Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla), Columbine, and Roses. Their delicate form and cool colors complement many other perennials.

Further information:

Campanula ‘Bernice’

Pictures of Campanula and other info

Rare Campanulas

Growing Campanulas

Quizzicals: answers to those on the last A-Z post- 

  • Helen drives a French car – Citronella
  • The era of the taxi – Cabbage

Old School Gardener

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