The Campanula Genus (Bellflower)

The Campanula genus is made up of about 500 different species of biennials, perennials, and annual plants which come from the Northern Hemisphere.

They come from the Campanulaceae plant family.

At A Glance: The Campanula

You may be more familiar with the name bellflower, which describes the shape of a campanula perfectly. 

There is a type of campanula for every garden, as the genus is large enough to encompass flowering plants which like different conditions, including alpine varieties which are perfect for rockeries, and much taller, woodland types which prefer dappled shade.

It’s worth knowing that many species of campanula are classed as invasive, so make sure you check with your local authority before planting it. 

Behind The Name: What Does Campanula Mean?

The name Campanula is Latin, and literally translates as little bell.

This is also where the common name bellflower comes from.

In some places, the plant is known as the harebell, and has some connections with beliefs in witches.

Campanula Symbolism And Meaning

Campanula plants symbolize love which outlasts all challenges, humility, gratefulness, and beauty.

It can give out mixed messages, however, as the plant is also linked to death. This is probably due to the growing conditions in cemeteries, which they thrive in.

Campanula rapunculus, is also the source for the name Rapunzel, featured in the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale.

There is a myth surrounding Venus, the Ancient Greek Goddess of love, and this flower. 

The tale goes that she had misplaced a magic mirror, which would only depict beauty. A shepherd boy found it, and as he found peace and happiness every time he looked at it, he wanted to keep it.

Venus tasked Cupid to find it, and he begged the boy to give it back.

Unfortunately, the mirror had him in his clutches, and there wasn’t a way he could say yes. 

Cupid shot the boy’s hand with an arrow, and the boy dropped the mirror.

It shattered into pieces, and where the shards touched the ground, bellflowers grew. 

Campanula Uses

Primarily, campanulas are garden plants which add a lot of color and interest into any garden, but this isn’t the only use we’ve found for them. 

Campanula rapunculus is edible, for example. It was once grown all over Europe for its leaves which taste like spinach, and its roots which are treated like radish.

Campanula Growing Conditions

Campanulas bloom in spring through to fall, in shades of white, blue, purple, or pink, depending on the type you go for.

They’re hardy in USDA zones 3 through to 9, needing well-draining, nutrient-packed soil, and either full sunlight or dappled shade.

Some varieties can reach heights of 6 feet tall, while others will reach a maximum of 5 to 10cm from the ground.

Dwarf varieties are suitable for pots and the front of borders, and you can take advantage of the height of taller campanulas in mixed borders and beds.

Depending on the species you go for, the only real maintenance you’ll need to do is to sow more flowers in spring, if you go for annual or biennial varieties.

Leave a Comment