Campanula Poscharskyana for Underplanting

Campanula poscharskyana 'Camgood' Blue waterfall flowers
Campanula poscharskyana 'Camgood' Blue waterfall flowers

Campanula poscharskyana (Serbian bellflower) makes a great underplanting for taller perennials or shrubs. Covered with pretty star shaped blooms, this low growing perennial still manages to shine in the shade of other plants.

I have some Campanula poscharskyana ‘Camgood’ (marketed as ‘Blue Waterfall’) planted under a Hydrangea, and I’m partial to the way the blue flowers look as they shine through the Hydrangea branches. They easily fit into the open space under this shrub, looking much prettier than mulch.

Cimicifuga and Campanula flowers
Cimicifuga and Campanula flowers

These Campanula poscharskyana are planted under a tall Cimicifuga (bugbane). I especially like the blue stars twinkling through the purple tinged foliage of this perennial, which will not flower until much later. The Cimicifuaga is sparse at the base, so this groundcover does an excellent job of preventing weeds from growing, while looking pretty.

I also use Serbian bellflower as an edging plant. This dwarf perennial add a little blue sparkle to the front of the border. The plants have dozens of these attractive five petaled stars.

I’ve read that Campanula poscharskyana spreads quickly, but I haven’t had any problems with it here. It might be that the zone 3 winters slow it down, or maybe ‘Camgood’ (‘Blue Waterfall’) is better behaved than others. In fact, this is one of the few perennials that I lost some of over the winter. To be safe, you might not want to plant it next to delicate plants, or in a rock garden, until you see how it does in your garden.

Cimicifuga with no underplanting
Cimicifuga with no underplanting

Doesn’t this Cimicifuga above look bare without some Campanula underneath it? It needs a dwarf groundcover, with pretty flowers at its base.

Cimicifuga underplanted with Campanula
Cimicifuga underplanted with Campanula

Campanula poscharskyana is great for underplanting because it handles medium shade  well, and it is very low growing. My plants are about 10 cm (4 inches) tall, and the flower stems mostly spread out, rather than up. Serbian bellflower is a great groundcover to offset the leafy growth of taller shrubs or perennials. What plants do you like to use for underplanting?

Update: my ‘Blue Waterfall’ died out after a later winter, but you can read about two other Campanula poscharskyana that survived and flowered well.

Campanula poscharskyana 'Camgood' Blue waterfall flowers 2
Campanula poscharskyana 'Camgood' Blue waterfall flowers 2

15 thoughts on “Campanula Poscharskyana for Underplanting”

  1. I like the fact you get a lot of flowers on each plant, and they keep coming so the plant is good value as well as attractive. You were asking about Geranium ‘Amy Doncaster’ in your comment on my Blooming Friday post. It grows about 2 feet tall – well worth growing for the intense flower colour.

    1. Easygardener, the Blue Waterfall bellflower does get a lot of blooms. Some of my plants have close to a hundred flowers on them at their peak.

      Thanks for the feedback on the height of Amy Doncaster. I like the shorter ones like that. I have one geranium that’s over a metre high (over 3 feet), and it is extra floppy.

  2. Your Campanulas look great. Sadly mine often compete with ground elder and in order to get rid of that i tend to lose the Campanula but I don’t have all the varieties you have only one and I don’t know it’s name.

    1. Joanne, it’s too bad the ground elder got in there. I know you wouldn’t want to leave a piece of its root behind, entangled with the other plants. There are lots of great Campanula, and I’m pleased that so many do well here.

      Marie, I like the way the blue colour of Blue Waterfall shines between the branches of the taller plants, as you look down. These ones bloomed a long time into the late fall, but I lost some in early spring.

      Joy, my C. racemosa has few branches close to the ground, so it works really well. The C. simplex is fuller at the bottom, so there isn’t as much room for them. The poscharskyana work really well under the Hydrangea shrubs, and the colour seems to go with all of the Hydrangea blooms, from white to pink.

  3. I love these gorgeous little companulas ! .. but some how I never thought to under plant them the way you did .. so now I know ! : )
    I don’t think you can ever have too many of these little gems.

  4. Northern Shade, Is this your favorite campanula? It really is pretty under the other plants. My favorite (for the moment) underplanting is the Sweet Woodruff. It’s doing very well in a partly sunny/partly shady spot, even though I think it may be happier with more shade. It really does move out and about, but it’s not hard to keep in bounds if you don’t mind pulling it. I sometimes have a hard time pulling things OUT of a flower bed if I’m not giving it away! ;-)

    1. Shady Gardener, it’s hard for me to pick a favourite Campanula, but in the late fall, when poscharskyana is one of the plants still flowering, it’s my favourite. C. cochlearifolia might be my favourite right now, but the little double C. ‘Haylodgensis’ is pretty endearing too. Sweet woodruff has such fresh looking foliage. I know what you mean about not wanting to just waste a plant you pull out.

      Rebecca, it’s a thin line between vigorous enough to be a good groundcover, and “How did you get all the way over there?”, isn’t it. I like Asarum for a foliage groundcover, but I wish it was a little more spreading. The dwarf Campanula are great for underplanting, since they have the pretty blue or purple flowers to add extra dazzle.

  5. Beautiful plant, it’s nice to know that it flourishes so nicely, even in what appears to be fairly deep shade. I also use Sweet Woodruff for underplanting, the ones I have in sun/part sun seem to be doing better than the ones in shade. I had some dead nettle, and a creeping stonecrop, but they were taking over and I removed them. I like my groundcover to behave itself. :)

  6. What pretty flowers, and that’s a lovely shade of blue. Does it bloom year-round?
    That flash of blue must look reallyeye-catching when the perennials which grow over it are not in flower.

    1. Sunita, this Campanula is my longest blooming flower. It even blooms after the first frosts. Last year it bloomed for over 2 months after the frosts came, since we hadn’t had any snow yet, but once the snow comes, their beauty is hidden. It would probably put on an even longer display in an area with a longer growing season.

      Those tall Cimicifuga don’t bloom until fall, so the C. poscharskyana give them a little flash until they do.

  7. I feel the same way about not wanting to waste a plant. I let my heliopsis go to seed last year, and have tons of seedlings. I’ve been potting them by the dozen and giving them to anyone and everyone, since I can’t bear to discard them. ;)

  8. I just tried this campanula this year and it’s growing really well and is a nice spreader. Is this your first year growing it? I’ll be anxious to see what it does its second year.

    1. Beth, I’ve had these Campanula for two years now. They flowered very late into the fall, and were really hardy, which I really appreciated. The plants seemed to be there in early spring, as I pulled back the mulch. In fact, they were some of the earliest leaves visible as the snow melted, looking fresh and green. Then in late May, they didn’t appear to all be there. It’s possible that I pulled the mulch back too early, and we did have some severe late spring frosts which might have taken some out. I’m not sure. They seemed very cold tolerant when they were flowering at the end of November last year.

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