Campanula cochlearifolia (fairy thimble bellflower) is a dainty perennial with charming little blue flowers. It has been very hardy in zone 3, returning consistently after cold winters. The plants are covered in numerous blooms, that continue all summer and into fall. These dwarf bellflowers make an appealing sight in the garden.
The flowers are small bells with a scalloped edge, that hang down or outwards from slender flower stems. The effect of the little blue bells on diminutive plants is captivating. In the photo the bellflowers stand out against some green and silver Heuchera leaves.
This dwarf Campanula is about 10 cm (4 inches) tall, but the flower stalks rise to about 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches). The plants will gently spread outwards. Fairy thimbles make a fantastic edging plant for the garden, or an underplanting for taller perennials. They even bloom well in part shade. Because the plants are small, I like them in groups, forming a beautiful patch of blue flowers. Campanula cochlearifolia mixes well with foliage perennials or other bellflowers.
The above photo shows Campanula cochlearifolia ‘Bavaria Blue’. I added ‘Bavaria Blue’ this year, but I haven’t noticed much difference between these and the basic Campanula cochlearifolia. They seem about the same in their growth so far, and the colour is very similar. The ‘Bavaria Blue’ are a little taller, but that might be because of their culture before I got them. By next summer, I’ll see if they are still a few cm (inch) taller. I like the look of these plants in front of the silver foliage of Pulmonaria, since this shade of blue coordinates so nicely with silver.
The double Campanula cochlearifolia ‘Elizabeth Oliver’ is especially charming. The extra petals make this bellflower extra showy. The petals have a pale bluish lavender colour that is especially pretty. With the double flowers, these bellflowers are even more visible from a distance. The lighter colour of Elizabeth Oliver shows up well in the part shade from across the garden. This dwarf perennial has masses of these mini flowers over the foliage. You can read more information and see more photos of this double bellflower in this follow up post on ‘Elizabeth Oliver’.
These elfin plants look delicate, but they survive a zone 3 winter with no problems. The leaves are ready very early in spring, as soon as the snow melts, which helps the garden green up quickly. All of the fairy thimble bellflowers are charming plants with a dainty look, but are remarkably hardy perennials. These bellflowers produce a number of blooms, even in part shade. If you are looking for a dwarf plant for an edging, with blue flowers that are long flowering, the Campanula cochlearifolia are a great choice. This is a sweet little flower that you quickly become attached to.
There are more bellflower pictures in this previous post.