plant of the month
Campanula spp. (cam-PAN-yoo-luh)
Bellflower, Canterbury bells
Depending on species, potted Campanulas sport a variety of habits ranging from tall and upright to low and mounded to vining. Blooms are bell, star or funnel shaped, and there are both small-flowered and large-flowered species.
Campanulas are available in lavender, purple, blue-violet, pink and white.
Campanulas can bloom for two to four weeks in the home, and because most species grown as houseplants are cold-hardy perennials, these plants can live for years in the garden following their stints as indoor pot plants.
Campanulas are available year-round.
in-store and consumer care
Indoors, display Campanulas in bright, indirect sunlight. Outdoors, place plants in sunny locations, in cooler zones, and in lightly shaded locations, in warmer zones. Avoid full sun in the afternoons.
Keep the soil moist to the touch at all times, but reduce watering during the winter dormancy period. Irregular watering and underwatering can cause bud drop. Do not allow pots to sit in water.
The optimal indoor temperature range for Campanula plants is 60 F to 70 F; outdoors, 40 F to 90 F.
Moderate humidity is required, so in dry environments, occasionally mist Campanula plants or the air around them.
Campanulas’ sensitivity to ethylene gas varies by species and cultivar. To be safe, make sure all your purchases are treated with an antiethylene agent at the grower or during shipping.
Plant food typically is not required during the initial indoor blooming cycle. If plants are transplanted outdoors, apply liquid fertilizer at half dosage every two weeks during the spring and summer. Water plants before applying plant food.
Campanulas require a well-draining potting mix, such as a peat moss, soil and sand mixture.
Indoors, remove blooms as they fade, and once flowering is complete, cut back stems, keep plants in a cool location and keep soil fairly dry. You also can transplant Campanulas outdoors (see “Light” earlier in this section), where they will flower from spring through summer and go dormant in winter. To encourage continuous blooming outdoors, occasionally cut back stems after blooms have faded.
Several insects are likely to show up on Campanulas. Check frequently for spider mites, aphids, thrips, scale, whiteflies and slugs.
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WHAT’S IN A NAME
The genus name Campanula comes from the Latin word “campana,” meaning bell, in reference to the bell-shaped flowers.
Campanula is a member of the Campanulaceae, or bellflower, family. Relatives include Platycodon (balloon flower), Trachelium (throatwort) and Wahlenbergia (bluebells).
HOME SWEET HOME
Campanulas are native to many temperate regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but primarily the Mediterranean region of Europe, from Western Europe through the Balkan States.
Some information provided by:
Bay City Flower Co., Inc.
Chain of Life Network®, www.chainoflifenetwork.org
Houseplant Encyclopedia, The
by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Krüger
New House Plant Expert, The, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
Nurserymen’s Exchange, Inc., www.bloomrite.com