CAMPANULA: THE BELLFLOWER
Fascinating Hardy Plants for Flower Borders,
Wild Gardens and Rock Gardens
(Campan'ula). Annual, biennial and perennial plants, found wild in many countries of the Northern Hemisphere; these plants give their name to the Bellflower family, Campanulaceae. They vary greatly in height and habit of growth, bloom in summer, and bear blue, violet, lavender, white or, in rare instances, yellow or pink flowers. The name Campanula is derived from the Latin campanula, meaning a little bell.
For gardening purposes the Campanulas may be divided into two chief groups, consisting of those which are suitable for the flower border, wild garden and woodland, and others which are grown in the rock garden. Some kinds in each group are suitable for cultivation as pot plants in the greenhouse and window garden.
Bellflowers for the Border. Some of the Campanulas are splendid hardy plants for the per
ennial border, providing a wealth of bloom during the summer months. They thrive in ordinary well-cultivated soil and may be planted in fall or spring. If the garden soil is clayey it should be well broken up, sand and compost being mixed with it before the plants are put in. These Bellflowers will flourish in a sunny or partly shady place.
Planting and Summer Management. They should be set from 12-18 in. apart according to the vigor and ultimate height of the different kinds. The flower stems must be supported with stakes or brushwood, if necessary. It is of the greatest importance to pick off all flowers as soon as they have faded; if this is done the plants will continue to bloom throughout many summer weeks, but if seed pods are allowed to form, flowering will soon cease.
When to Sow Seeds. The hardy border Camp anulas are easily raised from seeds sown in a greenhouse or frame in early spring. Artificial warmth is not necessary, but it is an advantage as it encourages earlier germination. A tempera ture of 50-55 degrees is high enough. As the seeds of Campanula are small they should be sown in flowerpots or flats filled with finely sifted, light, sandy soil; the merest sprinkling of similar soil provides sufficient covering. Pieces of glass and brown paper are placed over the pots of seed to keep the soil moist. The soil must not be allowed to become dry; the best way to water the seeds or seedlings is to immerse the flowerpot almost to the rim in a vessel of water.
Managing the Seedlings. When the seedlings are an inch or so high the pots containing them may be placed in a cold frame. Before they be come unduly crowded the seedlings are potted separately in small pots or are set about 2 in. apart in flats filled with a compost of loam, two thirds, leaf mold and sand, one third. When well rooted, they may be planted in a nursery border out of doors.
A Simple Method of Propagation. Certain kinds of Campanula, e.g., C. latiloba (grandis) and C. persicifolia, form rosettes of leaves; the simplest and best method of propagating them is to detach the small rosettes, each with a few
roots attached, in late summer or early autumn, and plant them in the border where they are to remain or, if the garden soil is clayey, to set them singly in flowerpots of suitable size and keep them in a cold frame for the winter, anti plant them out of doors in spring.
Those kinds that form a large rootstock, for instance C. latifolia and C. versicolor and their varieties, should not be disturbed unnecessarily. It is better to raise a fresh stock of plants by sowing seeds.
The annual Campanillas are, of course, raised from seeds; these are sown in the border early in spring where the plants are to bloom in sum mer; the seedlings should not be transplanted.
The chief annual kinds are C. macrostyla and C. ramosissima. Campanula ramosissima (Loreyi) is excellent when grown in hanging baskets. Seeds are sown in the soil in the basket when the latter is filled in April.
C. macrostyla is a branching hardy annual, 18 in. tall, with broad, solitary, purple, pink or white flowers; the leaves are small and the whole pla nt is bristly.
The Chief Kinds of Hardy Border Bellflowers. C. alliariaefolia is a handsome Caucasian plant, with tall branching stems 18 in. high, large, heart-shaped leaves and a profusion of cream white bells. It succeeds in ordinary soil.
C. carpatica, the Carpathian Bellflower, and its varieties are suitable for planting at the front of the border; they bear saucer-shaped, blue or white flowers on stems 6 in. high. Beautiful varieties include Isabel, violet-blue; Blue Carpet, deep blue; Riverslea, violet-blue and White Star, white.
C. glomerata, the Clustered Bellflower, makes an excellent border plant; it bears a large cluster of violet-purple blooms on stems 18 in. high. Variety dahurica, 1 ft., deep purple, is a specially good form; acaulis is a dwarf variety.
C. lactiflora has tall leafy stems, 3-5 ft. high, which bear loose panicles of star-shaped flowers, white slightly tinged with blue, or entirely blue; this is rather a short-lived plant but sows itself
quite freely and thrives in semishade.
C. latifolia, the Broad-leaved Bellflower, is a handsome plant, 4 ft. high, with stout, leafy spikes of lilac-purple, funnel-shaped flowers. There are several handsome varieties: eriocarpa is violet-purple, alba has fine white flowers and macrantha has large purplish-blue blooms. C. latifolia and. its varieties are chiefly suitable for the wild garden, woodland and shady border.
C. latiloba is a fine border plant with large, blue, saucer-shaped flowers on stems 1-2 ft. high above a thick carpet of leaves. Only the largest rosettes of leaves should be planted in the show border, the smaller rosettes being grown in a nursery bed for a year. Highcliffe variety, 3 ft.,
intense deep blue, is a grand border plant; so is Six Hills Giant, 21/2-3 ft., pale blue.
The Popular Peach-leaved Bellflower. C. persicifolia, the Peach-leaved Bellflower, is a beautiful border plant with blue or white cup-shaped
flowers borne in June, July and August, on leafy stems, 2-3 ft. high, which rise from a rosette of
smooth narrow leaves. This plant has given rise
to many beautiful varieties with double or single flowers. The finest of these are grandiflora alba
and Backhousei, single white; Boule de Neige, double, white; Moerheimii, semidouble. white; Telham Beauty, single, china blue; Pride of Exmouth, semidouble, medium blue; and Wirral Belle, semidouble, violet.
C. Trachelium is more suitable for the wild garden than the flower border; it has loose racemes of blue or white bell-shaped flowers, which are erect at first and afterwards droop. There are double blue and white varieties.
The Canterbury Bell. C. Medium, the Canterbury Bell, is a biennial 2-4 ft. high, with large
loose racemes of inflated bell-shaped violet-blue,
lavender, pink, rose or white flowers, borne during June—July. Apart from these colored varieties there are several others, notably calycanthema, known as the Cup and Saucer Canterbury Bell, with an enlarged colored spreading petallike calyx (a fair percentage of these plants will
come true from seed): Wiegandii, which has yellow leaves, and imperialis, a floriferous variety.
The Cup and Saucer varieties are great favorites.
When to Sow Seeds of Canterbury Bell. Seeds of Canterbury Bells should be sown in May or June,
preferably, as the seeds are very small, in finely
sifted soil in a cold frame. If the seeds are sown out of doors, a half-shady spot, where the soil is
light, should be chosen; heavy soil must be lightened by the addition of sand. The seeds are sown in drills 1/2 in. deep and 6 in. apart. Before
they become crowded, the seedlings must be
transplanted 6 in. apart in a nursery border, there to remain during the summer. In October,
or in early spring, they are planted 15 in. apart where they are to flower the following summer. In the North they should be given some winter protection; where winters are severe they should be carried over in a cold frame.
Almost all Canterbury Bells will bloom the
year after seed sowing, but those that do not will make magnificent plants the following summer and will then bear a profusion of bloom. They flourish in ordinary garden ground; if the soil lacks lime, this should be added. If the flowers are picked from the spikes as they fade, a second crop of smaller bells will be produced.
Canterbury Bells may be grown in pots for greenhouse or porch or terrace display in sum mer. The plants are lifted from the nursery bor der in September-October and are potted in 8-in. flowerpots in sandy, loamy soil. They may be kept in a cold frame or in a slightly heated frame or greenhouse, temperature 45-50 degrees, dur ing the winter.
The Chimney Bellflower. C. pyramidalis, the Chimney Bellflower, is a vigorous plant with a thick, fleshy stem rising to a height of 4-5 feet, bearing, along the greater part of its length, blue flowers, which open in succession during July,
August and September. This old-fashioned European plant is one of the handsomest of the whole genus; where winters are not excessively severe it may be grown out of doors in the bor der, elsewhere in pots in the greenhouse. There are several varieties: alba, white, and compacta, a plant of lower growth with large white flowers. C. Fergusonii (a hybrid between C. pyramidalis and C. carpatica), 2 ft., has lilac-blue flowers.
Seed of C. pyramidalis is sown in March in pots of sifted sandy soil in a greenhouse, tem perature 50 degrees, or in a cold frame. The · seedlings are placed singly in small pots and sub sequently in those 5-6 in. wide, care being taken not to bury the crowns or centers of the plants: the best potting soil consists of loam with a little thoroughly decayed manure and a sprinkling of sand. In February they are repotted in 8or 9-in. pots in which they will bloom. If required for the border out of doors in mild climate gardens,
the plants should be planted there in October or in March. C. pyramidalis, although a perennial, is better treated as a biennial.
Bellflowers for the Rock Garden. The miniature Bellflowers are very beautiful rock garden plants and most of them are easy to cultivate. Most of them succeed in well-drained, sandy, loamy soil with which some leaf mold, sand and grit have been mixed. The choice and difficult kinds are planted in the moraine. October and early spring are the chief planting periods.
The plants are raised from seed sown as soon as ripe, or in March, in pots of light, sifted soil; the seedlings are potted separately in small pots and are kept in a cold frame until large enough to be planted in the rock garden. The vigorous kinds may be set in flats of sandy, loamy soil instead of being potted separately. They may be propagated by cuttings taken in spring and placed in pots of sandy soil in a frame kept close for a few weeks or under a bell jar. Division of the plants may also be done in spring. When the choicer kinds are divided, or increased by cuttings, it is advisable to grow them in small pots in a frame until they are established.
C. abietina, from eastern Europe, has loose branching spikes of light blue, star-shaped flowers on slender, erect stems about 6 in. high. This kind is apt to dwindle after a year or two; when it shows signs of deterioration it should be lifted in September and separated into pieces for replanting.
C. Allionii, a plant for the moraine or very gritty soil, is one of the more difficult kinds. It is found wild in the Piedmont Alps of Savoy and is also known as C. alpestris. This Campanula is one of the few kinds that dislike lime, and should be planted in a mixture of peat and granite chips. The blue bell-shaped flowers, which are the largest of any Campanula in proportion to the size of the plant, are borne in July, singly on slender stems, 6 in. high. This Campanula requires abundant moisture during the growing season. There is a white-flowered variety, alba, and variety grandiflora has rather larger flowers.
The Alpine Bellflower. C. alpina, from the Alps of Lombardy and Transylvania, bears erect spikes, 6-8 in. high, of dark-blue, pendulous, tube-shaped flowers, and has rather long, grayish, downy leaves. It thrives best in loamy soil containing lime, but is often not long-lived.
C. arvatica, a dainty little plant from the Cantabrian mountains, has slender, leafy stems, 6 in. high, each bearing one or two purple star-shaped flowers. This is an ideal plant for the moraine, although not so hardy as some other kinds.
C. barbata, a beautiful Bellflower from the European Alps, in May bears loose racemes of four or five pendulous, pale blue flowers fringed at the mouth with hairs. This plant, which grows
12 in. high, should be set in a well-drained posi tion as it dislikes excessive damp; although really a perennial it is short-lived, and is best treated as a biennial. It seeds quite freely. The variety alba is also a very attractive plant. Seeds should be sown annually in pots of light soil in a frame in September.
For Planting in Dry Walls. C. caespitosa, a dwarf spreading plant 4-5 in. high from the Dol omites, has lovely blue nodding flowers. It is suitable for setting in dry walls and in crevices between flagstones, and is increased by divisions in the spring, or by seeds sown in pots in Septem ber or in March.
C. cenisia has solitary, deep-blue funnel-shaped flowers, on erect stems 3-5 in. high. It succeeds in deep, very gritty loam and leaf soil, and is an exquisite rock garden plant.
C. cochlearifolia (pusilla), widespread through out the European Alps, is a dainty little plant, with drooping solitary blue bells on 4to 6-in. stems. It thrives in gritty, loamy soil and is one of the easiest to grow. There are several varieties, notably alba, white; pallida, pale blue; and Mi randa, silver-blue, 2 in.
C. collina, a Caucasian plant, 12 in. high, with deep blue, pendulous, funnel-shaped flow ers, is one of the best. It will flourish on a hot, dry bank.
C. Elatines, from the Cottian Alps, is of trail ing growth with blue starry flowers. It should be planted in gritty soil in a sunny crevice.
C. Formanekiana, from the Balkans, has gray
hairy leaves and bears large white or violet-tinted flowers in June. It dies after flowering, but is easily raised from seed.
C. excisa, from Mont Rosa, is an er ct plant with stems 3-4 in. high and pale, solitary, violet colored flowers. It is distinguished from other Bellflowers by a small hole at the base of each lobe, from which its name is derived. It should be planted in gritty loam and peat in the mo raine.
Very Free Blooming. C. Elatines garganica, a compact free-growing plant, 3 in. high, is cov ered during most of the summer with a profusian of starry blue flowers with white centers. It is one of the best and most easily managed of the rock garden Bellflowers. The variety alba is a lovely white-flowered plant, hirsuta has china blue flowers, and the variety W. H. Paine bears large violet, white-centered flowers.
C. haylogensis, a beautiful hybrid Bellflower with large clear blue flowers and yellowish-green leaves, is one of the easiest to cultivate. The double-flowered variety is an attractive plant.
C. macrorrhiza bears cluster's of blue flowers on slender stems. It seems to be always in bloom, and does best in rock fissures in full sun. This plant grows very freely among rocks and on walls in the Riviera.
Flowers for a Long Time. C. Portenschlagiana (muralis), 6 in. high, is one of the best of all alpine Bellflowers. It has bluish-purple flowers, and blooms for a long period. It grows very freely, forming large, dense cushions, and is eas ily increased by division. It is also useful as an edging.
C. Poscharskyana, a trailing Bellflower of vig orous growth, bears masses of pale lavender-blue flowers in June-August.
C. pulla, a miniature Bellflower only 3 in. high, from the Syrian Alps, has solitary, pendu lous, deep violet-blue flowers. It should be planted in a sunny position in well-drained soil free of lime.
C. pulloides, somewhat resembles C. pulla, but is taller and stronger and stronger growing.
C. Raineri, a rare dwarf Bellflower, found wild on limestone in the mountains above the Italian Lakes, bears large, solitary, dark blue flowers on stems 2-3 in. high. This plant should be put in a sunny chink in gritty loam, or in the moraine.
C. rotundifolia, the native Harebell of England and the Bluebell of Scotland, has deep blue flowers. It occurs as a native in North America. It is worth cultivation in the less important parts of the rock garden, as are its varieties—alba, with white flowers, and soldanellaeflora with semidouble, pale blue flowers.
C. Saxifraga, from the Caucasus, grows to a height of 3-4 in. and bears violet-colored blooms. It somewhat resembles C. alpestris and requires the same conditions.
C. Stansfieldii, a compact plant with clear blue flowers and hairy yellowish leaves, is supposed to be a hybrid between C. Waldsteiniana and C. carpatica. It is quite one of the best, and is readily increased by division.
C. Tommasiniana, a bushy little plant 6-8 in. high, bears spikes of pale blue, pendulous tubular flowers. It increases slowly and can be propagated by taking off the outside pieces in August and placing them in sandy soil in a frame kept close for a few weeks.
C. Waldsteiniana, from the Dalmatian mountains, is a neat little plant, 5-6 in. high, with star-shaped blue flowers with white eye. It succeeds in light, well-drained, loamy soil.
C. Zoysii, one of the most distinctive, as well as one of the smallest of all Campanulas, has drooping, blue, tubular flowers, curiously contracted at the mouth. It is quite easy to grow in perfectly drained loam abounding in stone chips (crushed stone) and lime rubble.
For Window and Greenhouse. C. isophylla is a trailing, free-growing plant with lovely blue, salver-shaped flowers during July and August. It should be planted in a well-drained sunny position, or in a dry wall, and is a first-rate plant to grow in pots or hanging baskets in a window. It is not hardy in the North. The variety alba with white flowers is a very attractive plant; variety Mayi has hairy leaves and blue flowers. These plants are called Star of Bethlehem in New England.