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With their beautiful white flowers or flowers dyed in all kinds of blue and violet tones, campanula are invaluable for the summer garden. The genus belonging to the family Bellflower Family (Campanulaceae) comprises more than 300 species. Most of them are deciduous shrubs, some are evergreen. Few species are cultivated as annuals or biennials. They occur naturally in the most diverse habitats in the northern hemisphere. Many come from the Mediterranean, the Balkan Peninsula and the Caucasus, but a few also from East Asia, North America, Iran and the Himalayas.

As varied as the location requirements of different species, as diverse as their occurrence in nature. Because bluebells grow in meadows and mountain meadows or in high mountains. Even in the garden, the right species can be found for almost every location: from the living area of ​​the bed to the edge of the woodland, the open space to the rock steppe, stone structures, stone joints and masonry crowns - the spectrum is huge.

Meadow bluebell (Campanula patula)

A familiar picture from nature: the meadow bellflower (Campanula patula)

Appearance and growth

Also in terms of size and their growth behavior, the different species of bellflower differ significantly. While the smallest species like the Campanula cochleariifolia (Campanula cochleariifolia) or the Campanula carpatica (Campanula carpatica) grow compact, form low pads and can only grow ten centimeters tall, large species such as the Campanula lactiflora (Campanula lactiflora) Growth heights of up to two meters and have an elegant, upright habit.
Bluebells are easily recognizable by their bell-shaped, tubular or star-shaped flowers, which, depending on the species and variety, open between June and September. The bluebells also owe their name to them, because Campanula means "little bell" from Latin. A large part of all bellflowers blooms violet or blue. The color spectrum ranges from pale sky blue to deep violet. But there are also many white-flowering varieties, for example the dwarf bellflower 'Bavaria White' or the ball-bellflower 'Alba'. But not only the flower color and the flower shape are variable. The arrangement of the individual flowers varies from species to species. Sometimes they are panicles, sometimes in grapes, but often individually. The leaves are undivided, but may well be heart-shaped or dentate.

Location and ground

One thing most bluebells have in common: they prefer a sunny to partially shaded spot, they actually thrive in any nutritious, well-drained soil and are somewhat sensitive to moisture.


The low, cushioning species prefer a well-drained soil. To create an optimal location, the soil can be sanded before planting. Otherwise, bluebells can be planted from spring to fall.

Bluebells prefer nutrient-rich, well-drained soils

Bluebells prefer nutrient-rich, well-drained soils

care Tips

After flowering or, in the case of species that are to become wild through self-sowing, bluebells are cut off in the spring about a hand's breadth above the ground. Most species and varieties are shared in the spring or fall. This should happen about every 6 to 10 years, when the plants start to harden. The two species used as houseplants grow very quickly and therefore regularly need water and fertilizer. The soil in the pot should always be moist. Fertilize once a week between April and August.

Hibernation or winter protection

Species that are used as a houseplant, although in the summer can get out on the balcony, but in early September to move back into the house. Here they are first cut and then only slightly watered in the winter months and not fertilized. The temperatures in winter quarters should not exceed ten degrees Celsius.

Campanula medium deep blue

Also as indoor plants, the small-sized bellflowers are popular


Bluebells can be used in many ways in the garden according to their location requirements. The low, upholstery and mat-forming species bring color in stone joints, masonry crowns and rockeries. They are good for example for low yarrow (Achillea), thyme (Thymus) or gypsophila (Gypsophila). In sunny, mixed perennial borders, higher species such as the peach-leaved or the ball-bellflower, in addition to higher yarrow, evening primrose (Oenothera), summer marguerite (Leucanthemum) or candelabra's prize (Veronicastrum) cut a fine figure. Because of their romantic flower shape, they are also popular rose companion. For shady flowerbeds, you can take Astrophysus, Foxglove (Digitalis) or Geissbart (Aruncus) as a partner.
Some species of bellflower are even used as a houseplant.Particularly popular here are two native species from Italy, but they are sensitive to frost: the fragile bellflower (Campanula fragilis) and the star bellflower (Campanula isophylla). Both form their flowers on longer shoots that hang beautifully over the edge of the pot. They will be available from March. In summer you can also plant window boxes with these species if they are wintered in the house. The winter hardy Dalmatian bellflower is often offered as a room or balcony plant.

Knell bellflower Campanula glomerata

In the ball-bellflower (Campanula glomerata), the flowers are arranged in bunches along the stem

Important species and varieties

The large genus of bellflowers is often subdivided into several groups, based on their uses in the garden. The first group includes the medium-sized to large species that are suitable for wild perennials and beds, such as the ball-bellflower (Campanula glomerata), the broad-leaved forest bellflower (Campanula latifolia) or the pear-leaved bellflower (Campanula persicifolia). Especially of the latter are numerous varieties in the trade, some of which may have simple and partly filled flowers. Many of the high species are also good as cut flowers.
The second group includes low-growing species that prefer dry, lean locations, making them ideal for rockeries, dry stone walls and troughs. These include, for example, the dwarf bellflower, the Carpathian Bellflower, the Dalmatian Campanula (Campanula portenschlagiana) and the Campanula bellflower (Campanula poscharskyana). For lovers of this genus but also has many other species ready, which fit into any of the other two groups, for example, the two-year Bouquet Bellflower (Campanula thyrsoides) or the numerous varieties of dotted bellflower (Campanula Punctata hybrids) as 'Beetroot' or 'Sarastro'.

Broad-leaved Forest Bellflower (Campanula latifolia var. Macrantha)

Campanula latifolia var. Macrantha 'Alba'

The broad-leaved forest bellflower (Campanula latifolia var. Macrantha, left) and its white-flowered variety 'Alba' (right)


As varied as the genus are the propagation possibilities of the bluebells. Some can be propagated by rooted leaf rosettes, others by basal cuttings. Most species are shared or can be pulled from seeds. In addition, some species multiply by self-sowing.

Diseases and pests

Only occasionally are bluebells attacked by gray mold or downy mildew. Bluebells are most at risk from rust. This fungal disease occurs on bluebells in three forms. While Coleosporium tussilaginis occurs mainly on the ball-bellflower and the peach-leaved bellflower, the latter can also be affected by the specific campanula rust (Puccinia campanulae). The rust fungus Aecidium campanulastri also occurs frequently on bluebells. Especially the Carpathian Bellflower often suffers from snail-eating.

Video Board: Bellflower Movie (2011) Trailer.

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