Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Perennials
by Susan Littlefield
About This Plant
One of the most popular uprights is peachleaf bellflower (Campanula persicifolia). Tall, 15 to 30 inch spikes of 1-1 ½ inch, broadly bell-shaped flowers in shades of blue, pink, white and purple rise in early summer from basal clumps of leaves. Clustered bellflower (C. glomerata) produces upwards facing heads of blossoms in purple or white in early summer on sturdy 18 inch stems. Milky bellflower (C. lactiflora), 3 to 5 feet tall, and great bellflower (C. latifolia), 4 to 5 feet tall, also both have upward-facing flowers.
Other upright growers are distinguished by their large, nodding blossoms. Spotted bellflower (C. punctata) gets about 2 feet tall and bears pink, speckled, dangling flowers from midsummer to fall. 'Cherry Bells' is a popular cultivar. The hybrid 'Sarastro' has large, deep-purple, nodding bells on a 2 ½ to 3 foot tall plant.
The low spreading bellflowers look nice trailing over the tops and between the stones of a dry rock wall. In early summer, Serbian Bellflower (C. poscharskyana) spreads a wave of blue, 1-1 ½", star-shaped flowers. Adriatic bellflower (C. garganica) and Dalmatian bellflower (C. portenschlagiana) are similar. For edging along a path, the low growing Carpathian harebell (C. carpatica) is perfect. The cultivar 'Blue Clips' bears bright blue bells on 8-12" high plants over most of the summer. Even more floriferous is the sterile hybrid 'Samantha', which is covered in violet-blue, bowl-shaped blossoms above a 6" high clump of leaves.
The biennial Canterbury bells (C. medium) is an old fashioned favorite, growing 12 to 30 inches tall and sporting boxy, bell-shaped flowers in shades of lilac, blue, pink and white. Start these plants from seed in midsummer for bloom the following year.