The many varieties of Bellflower

The genius Campanula commonly known as Bellflower encompasses a large selection of perennials, biennials and annuals.. Some varieties are a treat to have in the garden, others need controlled and then there are the ones that should only be used in places where nothing else grows such as dry slopes or deep shade.

The genius Campanula commonly known as Bellflower encompasses a large selection of perennials, biennials and annuals..

Some varieties are a treat to have in the garden, others need controlled and then there are the ones that should only be used in places where nothing else grows such as dry slopes or deep shade.

Of the last group, Campanula rapunculoides, commonly known as Creeping Bellflower or Rocky Mountain Bluebell is on the Alberta’s noxious weed list.

This hardy plant has escaped from homesteads throughout Alberta and is making its way into pastures and fields.

Chances are that if it is in the garden it is a problem as it sends its roots deep and wide.

Bellflowers are easily identified by the shape of their flower tubular, bell or star shaped.

The most common flower color is blue but dependent on the variety campanulas are available in white pink, and different shades of purple.

Growth habits are, upright, hanging or clumps.

It depends on the variety or sometimes even the cultivar if the roots spread quickly by rhizomes or stay in a localized area.

Clips, Blue or White, Campanula carpatica, is a popular variety that is hardy to Central Alberta. The plant grows in clumps that need to be split every three of five years depending on the soil conditions and the amount of sunlight it receives. If the clump is allowed to grow too large the flowers slump to the edges leaving a bare spot in the middle.

Clips will thrive in full sun to partial shade.

Place the plant near the front of the border as it is relatively short. In wet years, slugs can be a problem.

Clustered Bellflower Campanula glomerate is often traded between neighbors.

Unless it is going to be used to fill in a large area, it is better to purchase a named variety from a reputable garden center. Named varieties have been chosen as they do not have aggressive roots and will stay in small clumps. Named varieties come in white or purple reaching a height of12 -14 inches (30 – 35 cm). The older varieties work well to fill in a shady area where little else grows.

Peach-leafed Bellflower Campanula persicifolia spreads through shallow roots that spread outward making a larger clump but can be easily controlled.

Take time to deadhead as seeds are viable and can lead to a large number of plants.

The plant itself consists of low growing leaves coming from a central point.

Strands of flowers start appearing in early July and continue can continue into August depending on the weather and plant location.

Look for this plant in blue, white and with single or double flowers.

Harebells, Campanula rotundifolia, are native to Alberta.

Do not dig these in the wild to move into a flowerbed as the plants do not adapt to the richer garden soil and less plant competition. Purchase varieties on the market that have been selected for domestic use.

Harebells have very slender stems that hold one or two bells aloft. Their roots will spread outwards but they will grow well in clumps adding a blue clump to the garden for a couple of weeks..

Canterbury bells are a biannual which means that it becomes established the first year and blooms the second.

Expect the flowers, white, pink or blue to start blooming in the spring and continue into the summer. The height of plant depends on the variety but it will range between 24 to 36 inches (60-90 cm).

The large flowers and stunning display make waiting a year worthwhile.

Place the plants in a location where they will be covered with snow during the coldest months.

There are a few varieties of Campanula that can be a problem but for the most part, the add color and shape to the garden.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at www.igardencanada.com or your_garden@hotmail.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) falls on his knees as he skates around Ottawa Senators defenceman Artem Zub (2) during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, February 18, 2021. The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto star Auston Matthews won’t play as Leafs face Oilers

EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Most Read