Bring the Mediterranean blues to your garden with Campanula.
There are many sides to Campanula, and all of them are a delight. From towering back of the border beauties to the creeping Campanulas, which can turn an eyesore (be it drab steps or a plain path) into a floral masterpiece.
Campanula, common name Bellflower belongs to the family Campanulaceae, the Latin name for Little Bell. This cottage garden favourite has demure bell-shaped blooms (hence the name) in papery whites, bashful blues and pretty mauves. The hooded flowers on taller cultivars help soften a herbaceous border, but we're particularly fond of the low-growing opportunistic varieties, which somehow spill gracefully out of impossible crevices.
Campanula has a long bloom time, with masses of flowers appearing from spring and into late summer. They aren't showy, but they don't need to be. Their simple forms and nectar-rich centres attract gardeners and bees alike.
These good-natured plants have long been associated with gratitude, humility and everlasting love, making them a popular choice for wedding bouquets. According to Pippa Middleton's florist, Campanula is a popular choice for vintage-style bouquets alongside other country flowers such as Foxgloves and Hollyhocks. On the other hand, Campanula can also be associated with death and is planted around graves. Notably, Prince Harry and Meghan's wreath for Prince Philip featured Campanula.
In all situations, the Bellflower is a cheering sight and one that looks just as good decorating a wall in a Mediterranean cottage garden as it does in a planter on your kitchen table. In this case, go for dwarf Campanulas. Just remember to plant them outside once you've enjoyed the blooms.
For inspiration on where to grow your Campanulas, head to the Walled Garden in Suffolk. Campanula super fan Sue Wooster first saw alpine Campanulas growing in the Italian Dolomites in the 1980s. Her enthusiasm for them can be seen throughout the garden and in the adjoining Bellflower Nursery.
The joy of joys, you don't have to be a seasoned gardener to grow them.
Shop for speciality plants fit for a show garden here:
Festival Garden Plants
John Cullen GardensSalvia microphylla 'Hot Lips'
John Cullen GardensSalvia greggii 'Clotted Cream'
Bali-Hai NurseryHosta 'The Fonz' - Bare Root Plant - Hardy
Mywishtree1Peony Tree (Paeoniaceae)
thejsheppardSweet Pea 'Spencer Waved' Mix
PurpleBloomSeedsSage (50 seeds)
How do you care for a Campanula plant?
You'll be pleased to hear Campanula is easy to grow. This low maintenance perennial grows best in a sunny position but can do well in partial shade too.
Plant them in moist, well-draining, gritty soil. Add horticultural grit or sand to the compost to improve drainage as they don't cope well with winter wet.
Don't be fooled by those delicate blooms. Most Campanulas are frost hardy and will survive cold temperatures, making it an almost hassle-free addition to your garden.
There are plenty of ways to multiply your Camplanula brood. You could collect the seeds and store them in a cool, dark place until spring. Of course, the easy way to get more plants is to let them self-seed about. You can also divide the plants in spring if things are looking a little crowded. And don't forget to deadhead gone over flowers to encourage a second flush.
Common problems with Bellflower
Slugs and snails are partial to Campanula, and the plant can also suffer from Rust in autumn.
Did you know?
- Campanula stems from the Latin for Little Bell. Campanula stems from the Latin for Little Bell. But not just any old bell. Originally it referred to the tiny bells Canterbury pilgrims used to decorate their horses. By the 16th and 17th centuries, the Coventry Bell was more common.
- The pretty blooms of Campanula Glomerata not only provide fodder for bees but also act as a motel for Harebell mason bees and mining bees, who take shelter there at night.
- Campanula mostly originates from the Mediterranean, where it's a bit of a nomad, roaming from sea level to the highest alps.
- This old-timer has been around for centuries. Native and nonnative varieties were recorded in gardens as detailed in Henry Lyte's 1578 publication Niewe Herball or Historie of Plantes.
Where to buy Campanula
Start your love affair with Campanula by visiting Candide today.
Create a luscious Mediterranean-style container garden with Campanula!
Bellflowers look marvellous when planted in terracotta pots and make a great addition to a container garden.
For the Mediterranean feel on your balcony or patio, pair Campanula with pots filled with Lavender, Salvia and Italian herbs!
Whether you've got a windowsill display or flower-filled border, let us know what you're growing using the hashtag #ShowUsYourBlooms
This article is part of Candide's Festival of Flowers, an online floral take over, aiming to unite the nation in a joyful celebration of gardens, plants, pollinators and people! Read more from the series below.