Campanula Carpatica a Delightful Bellflower

Campanula carpatica (Carpathian bellflower) lots of flowers
Campanula carpatica (Carpathian bellflower) lots of flowers

Campanula carpatica (Carpathian bellflower) is a long blooming perennial that pairs well with many other garden plants. I’ve found that it can take a fair amount of shade and still bloom reasonably well. These bellflowers rarely require any maintenance beyond removing the faded flowers. They have been very hardy, and returned reliably after cold winters. With their charming flowers that cover the plants, they make  great flowering perennials for part shade.

Campanula carpatica (Carpathian bellflower) with buds and flowers
Campanula carpatica (Carpathian bellflower) with buds and flowers

Carpathian bellflowers produce a constant stream of blooms all summer. You can see the new buds are green, and the buds that are just about to open are a purple colour. The flowers open to this lovely dark blue. When all of the buds open, they will cover the whole top and sides of this plant with upward and outward facing flowers. The blooms are larger than most of my bellflowers, and make a good colour show when viewed from across the garden.

I have a mixture of ‘Blaue Clips’ (Blue Clips), ‘Dark Blue Clips’ and ‘Blue Pearl’. Unfortunately, I’ve moved them too many times, and I’ve lost track of individual plants. There are definite differences in their colour range, but I’m not sure which is which, and I’m not even sure if they were tagged correctly originally. The colour range of rich blue shades on this perennial are all attractive.

Campanula carpatica (Carpathian bellflower)  with perennials
Campanula carpatica (Carpathian bellflower) with perennials

Campanula carpatica pairs up well with many other perennials in the garden. Here is one group of  Campanula carpatica in the middle of this garden section. In the upper right corner is a Brunnera. There is an Actae simplex (used to be Cimicifuga) (bugbane) in the upper left corner. On the lower right is a Heuchera (coral bells), and to the lower left is a Phlox divaricata (woodland phlox). A few fern fronds are also stretching in from the left.

The other perennials are moderate shade plants, and the bellflower has managed to fit in well and keep up the pretty blue flowers. Although the Campanula carpatica will have more flowers in a sunnier location, it still has a good number of blooms here where it gets a couple of hours of direct sun.

Campanula carpatica white (carpathian belflower) with C. rotundifolia
Campanula carpatica white (carpathian belflower) with C. rotundifolia

The carpathian bellflower pairs up well with other bellflowers too. Here some white C. carpatica are  mixed with some bluish purple Campanula rotundifolia (harebell). I’ve found the blue, violet and white bellflowers all coordinate beautifully together. I have a number of groups of different bellflowers flowering in this corner now, and it is my favourite area in the garden right now in mid July.

Campanula carpatica (bellflower) white flowers
Campanula carpatica (bellflower) white flowers

These white Campanula carpatica are a mixture of two types, ‘White Uniform’ and ‘Weisse Clips’ (White Clips). At one time they were two separate groups, but after being moved a few times they are now mixed, so I can’t tell them apart. These have a long blooming period, and put on a good flower show. A bit of white adds some dazzle to all the blue and purples.

The Carpathian bellflower is my very favourite plant to deadhead. The faded blooms snap off so easily with your fingernail, without being sticky, and it doesn’t take long to deadhead a patch of this perennial. Whether I’m going out to putter around the garden, or do some specific gardening tasks, I usually stroll over and deadhead the carpatica for fun.

Campanula carpatica is very easy to grow, combines well with other plants to make some great combinations, takes a bit of shade, and has an extended blooming time. It makes a delightful addition to the garden.

There is more information about other types of Campanula on this previous bellflower post.

18 thoughts on “Campanula Carpatica a Delightful Bellflower”

  1. I have these in two different spots in the garden and they do really well. Every perennial garden should have at least one!

    1. Beth, I agree; they are a great perennial for summer blooms at the front of the border, and they keep the flowers going into fall. I’ve found that they do well in a variety of garden areas too.

  2. Hi Northen Shade – Campanula is a great genus and they seem to tolerate shade in my yard too. My favourite has been peach-leaf bellflower (Campanula persicifolia) which, although short-lived, has reseeded into a couple of shadier spots than originally planted. It’s too pretty to eat, but apparently it used to be grown as a vegetable (I did take a few nibbles and it is better than broccoli).

    After looking through your plant list last winter, this year I added a couple trailing bellflowers (Campanula porscharskyana) and a Campanula carpatica ‘Blue Clips’. They’ve just started to bloom, but I think it will be a few years until they look as nice as yours. Too bad creeping bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides) is such a pest – it is quite attractive but grows like the nusiance weed it is. I have some clustered bellflowers (Campanula glomerata hispida) too, but I’m not sure if I like them or not. They are a bit large and weedy.

    I also have a very different and somewhat spectacular bellflower with white elongate tubular flowers with red speckles inside. It came as a hitch-hiker with a silverleaf rose, so I’m not sure what it is, but possibly a form of Korean Bellflower (Campanula takesimana). It isn’t thriving, probably needs more sun than it is getting, but when it blooms it is striking and the leaves are pretty too. I think I could become a Campanula collector.

    1. Dave, I love the look of C. persicifolia too. The tall stems laden with the pretty bells are a wonderful cottage flower. It’s great that they volunteered for shade duty in your yard.

      Not all of my Campanula poscharskyana made it through last winter, so I had to replace a few. Now the star flowers are blooming under my Hydrangea and a few of the taller perennials, and the bright blue looks great.

      I find the C. glomerata too vigorous, but I’ve kept a small group, because the flowers look great with some of the other nearby perennials. I’ve debated about removing it, but kept the one patch for now. I lean towards getting rid of it once the blooms are finished, as the plants really deteriorate, and do look weedy.

      The C. takesimana sounds like a great bonus.

      Sunita, I’m not sure how much heat it takes. It might prefer a trip to the Himalayas instead. :) The cashew trees would look beautiful with an underplanting. I love using different bellflowers under some tall plants.

      Rebecca, the bellflowers are really flourishing now. These are one of the plants I appreciate when fall comes, too, as they are still blooming when other plants are fading.

  3. What a lovely flower! It looks so striking with all that green in the background. I wonder whether it would grow here in Mumbai … it would be perfect to grow in the shade of my cashew trees. Hmmmm… something to check out now :)

  4. Love these happy little plants, I also have blue & white and they do very well in part shade. The blooms are lovely, and the bloom period is quite long with deadheading.

    Dave, I added some blue peachleaf bellflowers this year, and they are still sitting there, as little clumps. I’m not sure what to expect? Do they bloom the first year? Perhaps I’ve missed the bloom period for them this year.

  5. NS, I added some C.poscharskyana, but it’s hard to differentiate with the blue C.campanula. I suspect it may have been mislabled.

    1. Rebecca, the C. poscharskyana has long flower stems with multiple blooms. The stems with flowers tend to grow out more horizontally, and have a number of blooms all around them, spreading out sideways from the plant. The flowers are star shaped, with 5 narrow petals, and there can be over 50 or even a hundred on one plant.

      The C. carpatica have upturned bells that look like cups, with scalloped edges. They are much bigger than the poscharskyana flowers. The carpatica makes a neat mound, and hold the large flowers mostly just above the leaves, making a hemisphere of blooms over the plant.

      The leaves are very similar, although the mature poscharskyana leaves can get larger. If it’s not flowering yet, then they are harder to tell apart.

  6. Thanks for the information, since they are both flowering, and look almost identical I suspect they are abot carpatica.

    Another lovely perennial, similar to blue carpatica is the Dwarf Balloon Flower Platycodon grandiflorus “Astra Blue”, the buds are a fun balloon shape just prior to opening, but then resemble the carpatica flowers quite a bit.

    1. Rebecca, it sounds like the tags got mixed up before you bought them. It’s a good thing that Campanula carpatica is such a nice plant.

      I’ve been thinking of adding some Platycodon to a new section that I’ve expanded in my bellflower area. The new part is reasonably sunny too. The dwarf ‘Astra Blue’ sounds like a good idea.

  7. Hi Rebecca – My volunteer peachleaf bellflowers bloomed the first year, last July, but not much. They have been outdoing themselves this July, but look like they are nearing the end of their bloom. Given that most things here have been 10-14 days behind this year, could be yours have already bloomed.

    NS – I’ve had poor luck with balloon flowers in shade. They are attractive, but come up so late (27 July last year!) that they have never put on much of a show. I planted a Platycodon grandiflora ‘Sentimental Blue’ last Fall, but it is barely an inch high yet and doesn’t look promising. If you try them, I’d suggest a sunny spot that warms up early.

    1. Dave, part of the new extension to a bed in my backyard has more sun than shade. I’ve heard that Platycodon are slow to come up, but the end of the July is definitely sleeping in. I won’t try them in a shady area. They would make a great planting with bulbs, time sharing the space.

  8. I had the Weisse Clips and Blaue Clips in my last garden towards the front of a shade bed where they got a little more sun and they did very well.

    I really like the freshness they bring to a mid-summer garden.

    1. The Garden Ms. S, my other group of carpatica are sited like you describe, at the front of a bed where they get more light. The Campanula are the showiest blooms in the garden right now. I have a number of different bellflowers grouped in one garden bed, and it is my current favourite.

  9. Yes, I can remember … Fortunately some of them are able to stay in my mothers garden near the sunny pond. They are so beautiful, but in our garden it’s not possible any more :-(

    1. SchneiderHein, as the trees grow, a garden does get shadier and shadier. I have less room for the full sun loving plants, but still lots of room for part shade. These would look delightful near a pond.

  10. Seems like I’m late to this party, but participate anyway. I added campanula blue uniform to my perennial garden this season. I’ve never grown it before but I hope it likes the part-shade area I have chosen for it. Not expecting profuse blooms this year, but just hoping it returns to do its thing next summer.
    As for the invasive creeping bellflower, Dave, you absolutely right. NEVER introduce this pest into your yard! – unless you want to spent the next decade trying to eradicate it from every nook and cranny. It’s horrendous.

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