Lovely Dalmation Bellflower

Campanula portenschlagiana \'Hoffman\'s Blue\' (Hoffman\'s blue Dalmation bellflower)The Campanula portenschlagiana ‘Hoffman’s Blue’ (Hoffman’s blue Dalmatian bellflower) are covered with more blooms every day.  This petite bellflower has purple bells that face upwards with petals that flare back. The word ‘blue’ in the name is applied loosely, as it often is with flowers, to mean something from the blue/purple part of the spectrum. These perennials are very long blooming. This is the first Campanula to bloom in the summer in my garden, followed by C. posharskyana (Serbian bellflower).

The deciduous foliage of C. portenschlagiana is great in a cold climate. It shows green after the first frosts, and provides early greenery in the spring. The old foliage fades as the new fresh foliage appears in the spring.

This area between the houses is very shady, getting mostly indirect light, but you can see how many flowers it gets, even in these conditions. This perennial does very well, squeezed into this narrow space between the foundation and the walkway. The bed is usually dry, since it is under the roof overhang, and I don’t give this area as much supplemental water as the rest of the garden, but this plant seems very tolerant. I have a 10 metre (32 feet) long purple path of these blooms. Half of this strip had gravel when I moved in, but this bellflower is much prettier than white gravel.

When I first moved here, the other half of this section next to the house had been planted with Aegopodium (variegated goutweed). I allowed it to stay at first, since I mistakenly thought it would  be contained by the sidewalk in front of the bed. It furtively sent runners under the sidewalk that started popping up in the lawn, grrr. I ran the lawn mower over those insidious scouts every week, and every week they popped back up, just as fresh looking. I dug them out of the lawn, but they popped back up.

Finally realizing that containment was a losing battle, I removed all the goutweed from the area next to the house 2 years ago, and replaced it with Campanula glomerata (clustered bellflower) from another part of the garden. I thought this would easily suppress the goutweed, since it has its own domination issues. The Aegopodium still grew again, springing from unseen rhizomes. Short of digging up all of the soil and sterilizing it in my oven, I’m not sure I’ll ever be totally rid of the goutweed.

Last summer I removed the C. glomerata, and the medusa-like Aegopodium sprouts which kept returning, and filled the space with the Hoffman’s Blue’ Dalmatian bellflower. So far it seems to be working much better. There are a few goutweed leaves now and then, but the Dalmatian bellflower is starting to cover the area. Although the Campanula portenschlagiana does spread, it is better behaved than C. glomerata.

Campanula portenschlagiana \'Hoffman\'s Blue\' (Dalmation bellflower)

In this picture, the wind is driving the rain into this usually dry area. Even with its flower heads heavy with rain, causing the bells to hang down, Dalmatian bellflower still remains pretty.

The next photo shows this plant the day after the storm. It shrugged off all the rain, turned its face to the sky, and is looking good again. I like a plant that recovers well and always looks fresh.

Campanula portenschlagiana (Dalmation bellflower)

The flowers of Dalmatian bellflower are particularly attractive, with a long blooming time. The foliage forms short neat mounds. The perennial looks great at the front of the border, or squeezed into small spaces. This might be the origin of its other common name, wall bellflower. The plant tolerates shade very well, while still blooming profusely. It’s also moderately tolerant of dry soil. Campanula portenschlagiana is a choice plant for a variety of conditions.

You can read more about other Campanula (bellflowers) here.

This post has more information about double flowering bellflowers.

18 thoughts on “Lovely Dalmation Bellflower”

  1. Nancy, it’s funny that plant catalogues never bother using the expression ‘true purple’ in descriptions. I’m often on the lookout for true blue flowers, but I like purple too.

  2. I love these – my mother lines the flower beds in her front yard with this plant and they look so spectacular in bloom. For some reason I keep forgetting to get a piece from her. I’ll have to make a note of getting some next spring!

  3. Amy, They are very easy to divide and start well. This bellflower is basically carefree. You can probably start one anytime. That is, when your knee bends down to planting level again.

  4. I love bellflowers very much! I have also some campanula portenschlagia in my garden, but my favourite this year are campanula medium! They are so big and beautiful!

    Greetings from Austria!

  5. I’ve bought new seeds for the next year, because I had the first time C. medium and I don’t know if they reseed good or not. Foxgloves I must also cultivate in pots, because they don’t reseed in the garden.

  6. dalmation bellflower or periwinkle – Where can I buy these seeds I would love either as ground cover along the path in front of my house. I live on an island and think these plants would work well as a border. Thank you

    1. Jackie, I haven’t noticed this bellflower being sold as seed, but some places do have it as individual plants. They are lovely as a border, and work well in a cottage garden style.

  7. I tried to take some from my mothers garden. But they have spread so much that I cant find the root. Do I need to find the original plant or can I propagate by cutting?

    1. JC, you can actually just dig up a section of the dalmation bellflower at the edge, and it will transplant well. You could also dig up the large central one, divide it into sections by just cutting down through it or teasing it apart, replant the sections for your mother, and take a few for your garden.

  8. Hmm… I tried that but there doesn’t seem to be any roots on the edges. It looks like the plant has just creeped along the ground. I don’t even have to dig it up, they seem to just pull up from the ground like a carpet. Do you mean I can just pull it up and transplant them?

    1. JC, you could try replanting those, or dig up the main plant, divide it and keep a piece. Keep the transplants watered for a bit, until they settle in, but I’ve found them to not need much extra water once established. Good luck with the new bellflowers.

  9. The leaves are dropping off the stems of my Dalmatian bellflower. I have watered it, and the Impatiens next to it is doing well and blooming. What could be the problem? I tried to deadhead it after the blooms faded. Maybe I cut too much off?

    1. Althea, Dalmation bellflowers have a low rosette of leaves, and the flowering stems arise out of the mound. You can cut the flowering stems with their deteriorating leaves back to the mound after flowering, to get a neat clump of leaves.

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