The Campanula (bellflowers) are displaying their beautiful blooms now. They are a great perennial, and not just because they come in various shades of blue, purple and white. Many of these plants have a long blooming period. Most of them also have good looking foliage. Campanula tend to be very easy care. Most bellflowers don’t need much fussing, except some of the small rock garden ones which need good drainage. Generally, deadheading and some extra water when things get dry are about all they need.
I always smile at the sight of bees in the flowers of Campanula. Most of the flowers are small, short tubes, and bees can’t get all the way in. They squeeze their bodies in as far as they can to get the nectar goodness, while their back ends hang outside, and wiggle back and forth.
This perennial with pretty stars is Campanula poscharskyana ‘Camgood’ (blue waterfall Serbian bellflower). It has horizontal flowering stalks with many blue star-shaped flowers. It blooms well, even in medium shade.
The plant is low growing. It is a spreading bellflower, but doesn’t become annoying in zone 3. In good soil in a warmer climate, it might spread faster. I like the look of the numerous blue stars shining under shrubs or around tall perennials. There is more about Campanula poscharskyana in this post.
Campanula carpatica (Carpathian bellflower) is a very reliable perennial in zone 3. It forms a neat mound of foliage, and is covered in bells that face the sky. This good looking variety is C. carpatica ‘Blaue clips’ (blue clips). I also have the very similar C. carpatica ‘Deep Blue Clips’. Both of these flourish in the semi-shade. They are easy and satisfying to deadhead with a fingernail. Carpathian bellflowers are the longest flowering perennials in my garden.
I have 2 white flowering versions of C. carpatica, ‘Weisse clips’ (White Clips) and ‘White Uniform’. I’ve lost track of which Carpathian bellflower is which now. One of them is slightly more compact. These perennials are both very pretty and show up well from across the yard. Both are in semi-shade and do well. You can read more about Campanula carpatica and their care in this post.
I posted about Campanula portenschlagiana “Hoffman’s Blue” (Hoffman’s Blue Dalmatian Bellflower) in more detail before. It is a great bellflower that I highly recommend for its shade tolerance and long bloom. The flowers are upright, showy bells.
Campanula glomerata (clustered bellflower) is my least favourite of the bellflowers I grow. It has a pretty flower, but it is short blooming, too vigorous and the foliage deteriorates after blooming. I discussed it in more detail in this post.
Campanula cochlearifolia (fairy thimble) is an appealing little bellflower with many small light blue or white bells. It is very dainty, and looks good at the very front of a border, or draping around rocks or ledges. It spreads out to make a low carpet, with numerous tiny bells hanging from short stalks above. You can find out more about Campanula cochlearifolia in this post.
‘Elizabeth Oliver’ is a double flowering form of C. cochlearifolia. It is new to my garden this year. I hope it is as hardy as the basic fairy thimble. The charming flowers are a very pale blue, with a bell within a bell. This petite perennial is full of flowers. You can see how dark the Blue Clips on the left looks in comparison. There are more pictures and information about this double bellflower, ‘Elizabeth Oliver’, in this post as well.
C. rotundifolia (harebell) is a hardy bellflower that has blue bells hanging down the slender flower stalks. It has a low base of leaves, and the delicate flowers stalks rise above. In the shade, the flowers tend to lean over more, but this trait is fine, because it looks good mingled with so many other plants. This is a charming, easy care bellflower that blooms for a few months, and then intermittently until frost. There is more about Campanula rotundifolia here.
Campanula never seem bothered by pests or disease. I had rust on a C. persicifolia (peach leafed bellflower) once, and that has been the only problem.
Campanula are a terrific genus in the garden. Their flowers, generally in shades of blue, purple and white, are always eye-catching. Many bellflowers bloom for an extended time, which is always a bonus for a perennial. They are easy to use in the garden, since they blend well with many other plants. Some of them tolerate medium shade, and many do well in part shade. All of these are hardy in the cold climate of zone 3. If you enjoy Campanula, here is a review I wrote of a super book about the dwarf Campanula.