Campanula Pyramidalis, One Of Many Species Of Bellflower
Campanula comprises a large number of plants, with Campanula pyramidalis being one of nearly 300 different species. Most species are perennials, though a few are biennials and annuals. They are generally hardy in USDA zones 1-7, with a few species growing in zones 8 and 9. Most species feature bell shaped flowers though a few have star shaped blossoms. Blue is the most common color, but white, lavender and purple blossoms are also relatively common among the species.
The species Campanula pyramidalis is also known as the Chimney Bellflower. It is usually grown as a biennial. The plant features a rosette base of long, large green leaves from which stems emerge which can attain a height of up to 10 feet, making it among the tallest, if not the tallest, of the related species. The stems have pyramidal clusters of scented flowers, usually pale blue or porcelain blue, but occasionally white. The stems also have leaves, though not nearly as large as the leaves at the base. The Chimney Bellflower is often grown as a specimen plant and is adaptable for pot culture as well.
Culture - Campanula pyramidalis should be grown in rich, fertile soil, though will grow in any soil from shady to clay loam, and with a pH in the range from 4.5 to 7.5. It is usually planted in full sun, though in hot summer areas, it may do better in a location featuring partial of filtered shade. The Chimney bellflower can be considered a low maintenance plant. Just water it regularly and it will start blooming in late spring or mid summer. This particular variety grows best in USDA zones 6, 7, and 8. Plants should be located in the back of the garden and are attractive when planted in clusters of 3 or 5, with plants placed 2 to 3 feet apart. In windy areas, or where summers can be wet, staking the plants is advisable, though the stems are quite strong. During the winter season, care needs to be taken to protect the leaves at the base from being packed down by heavy snow. This can cause rot or decay to set in. Removing deadheads in a timely fashion can often extend the blooming season of the Campanula pyramidalis variety.
Other Popular Species - Most species of Campanula have significantly shorter stems than is the case with Campanula pyramidalis. Another taller species, C. lactiflora grows to a height of 4' to 5' and features blossoms that can vary from broadly bell-shaped to star-shaped, in colors ranging from white to pale blue. C. medium is another taller species, though it seldom exceeds 4' in height. This species has bell-shaped to urn-shaped blossoms in a variety of colors - purple, violet, pink, white, and blue. At the other extreme are the dwarf species, more suited as border plants, some of which reach 6" in height or even less. Dwarf species tend to be more popular with most gardeners and are arguably easier to manage than the tall varieties, especially as they require no staking. One of the more popular dwarf species is C. portenaschagiana, the Dalmatian Bellflower which has flaring bell-shaped violet-blue blooms and is noted for its tendency to provide a second blooming in late summer or early autumn.
Whether you choose Campanula pyramidalis or something else from among the other roughly 300 species, these flowers make an attractive addition to any garden, but seem particularly well suited for the old-fashioned or English garden. The dwarf varieties by the way are fine choices for a rock garden, and can even be placed in hanging baskets together with a few trailing plants, giving a very nice effect.