Plant Guide: Campanula
Are you looking to bring a spot of colour into your home as spring arrives? A great place to start is with the wonderfully simple, yet incredibly pretty, campanula. This flowering house plant it guaranteed to brighten up any corner of your home. Add one to your bedroom to wake you in the morning or bring a splash of colour to your study to help you concentrate.
Thinking of giving this plant as a gift? This one is all about the emotions! Campanula stands for gratitude making it ideal if you need a gift for a friend or for mum on Mother’s Day. It also said to be a symbol of eternal love and affection, so would make an incredibly thoughtful gift to your other half to celebrate a wedding anniversary.
If you’re on the lookout for one of these house plants, don’t be confused if you also see it called bellflower. This is the common name for a campanula and comes from the Latin word Campanula which means bell! We can see why, the flowers on the campanula plant bends over gracefully at the end of the stem to looks a lot like little bells. Even better this flower is a big hit with butterflies and our favourite pollinators, bees. Why not place some in a container outside your window and give our friends a bit of help this summer.
Fancy learning about the colourful campanula and how to look after them? Our guide will tell you everything you need to know.
Types of Campanula
One of the great things about the campanula is the diverse choice you can get. Anything from a small plant that fit perfectly in a pot, to creeping versions spilling over the sides of a container, all the way through to towering blooms. You’ll most commonly find this flower in shades of blue or a purple but there are a few other variations in pink, lilac and even a white campanula. You can also choose between the instantly recognisable bell flowers or go for a star or cup-shaped variety.
With over 500 different species you'll have plenty to choose from. Here are some of our favourites.
Did you know that in the fairy tale Rapunzel, the main character got her name from Campanula Rapunculus? In the story, the plants are called rampion and at the time were grown like a herb. It was common to eat their leaves like spinach while the parsnip-like root was used like a radish. Whilst pregnant, Rapunzel’s mother longed for the campanula growing in a witch’s garden and persuaded her husband to get some for her. The witch caught the husband in the act and only let him go if he promised to give her their baby when it arrived. Immediately after the birth of their daughter, the witch appeared and gave her the name Rapunzel. We all know how the rest of the story goes. The flowers on the campanula grows along a tall stem and bears a slight resemblance to long flowing hair.
This one has really found a place in our hearts and you’ll often see it growing in English gardens. Flowering from June until as late as September, this variety of campanula plant is also known as the peach-leaved bellflower. We’re not entirely sure why but it’s probably down to the fact that its pointed leaves resemble those of a peach tree. The bell-shaped flowers appear on tall stems with a mass of leaves at the base. You can get Campanula Persicifolia in lilac, purple and white and a choice of either single or stunning double-flowered versions.
If you want to keep things simple, then you might want to choose the Campanula Poscharskyana. Also known as the Serbian Bellflower, this is a spreading, alpine version of the plant which really works well in pots. You can only get this one in shades of blue and purple but don’t let this lack of colour put you off because the incredibly delicate star-shaped flowers are stunning.
If you’re looking for a bellflower that is a little bit different, this is the one for you! Also known as the Spotted Bellflower, Campanula Punctata delivers a magnificent display of long, hanging bells in colours of cream all the way through to pink. What makes it so distinctive are the flecked, red spots found on the inside of the bell (which is how it got its common name). This one is very popular in Asia where they use the plant as a medicinal herb. Not one to shy away, the flower stems of this campanula variety can grow up to 100cm tall! It is also a hermaphrodite flower, meaning it has both male and female organs – definitely a plant which makes a statement.
Where to place a campanula in your home
If you’re looking to brighten up your home with some fantastic campanula plants, the first thing you must know is that some varieties of this plant work better indoors than others. Always check your variety of campanula will work as a house plant.
How to care for an indoor campanula
Watering your campanula is a crucial factor in keeping your house plant happy. This plant needs a lot to drink, up to twice a week. Before you get carried away, always check and only top-up with water when the top third of the soil feels dry. When watering, you want to avoid watering from above otherwise it could damage the flowers and leaves. Make sure your pot has holes in the bottom and then place in a dish of water. Let your plant drink up what it needs, drain well and place back in your plant holder.
Your plant will tell you very quickly if you’re making a mistake with your watering. If it starts losing flowers and the leaves are turning dry and crispy then your campanula hasn’t had enough water. If the soil stays dry for too long, it could stop your plant from forming new buds – not what you want! On the other hand, if the leaves start to turn yellow or brown and the flowers drop off it’s usually because you’ve given it too much water. To avoid the roots from deteriorating any further you’ll need to repot with new soil.
Keep an eye on the seasons. When autumn arrives, your campanula will need to go to a cooler spot so it can have a rest. This is essential to help your plant form new flowers. When spring arrives transfer your plant back to a warmer spot and fingers crossed the new buds will start to appear. Most campanula are at the height of their growth period from May to September and you’ll need to give them a regular feed every two to four weeks with house plant food. You can reduce this to once a month during the autumn and winter months. Cut off any dead flowers and when the flowering season is over cut back your plant.
Every few years it’s a good idea to repot your plant. Don’t go too big on the size of the pot though – campanula actually like having squashed in roots, as it increases the chance of getting new flowers to bloom.
Are campanula toxic to pets?
If you have pets or children in the home, this plant is a great choice as it’s not toxic. Taking it even further, just like in the Rapunzel fairy tale, you can actually eat this plant. All plants in the campanula group have edible leaves and some even produce edible roots. For example, the leaves and young shoots of Campanula Versicolor are high in vitamin C while the Ilifolia produces sweet roots – a perfect edible decoration to your bakes or drinks!
Feeling clued up about the campanula? Shop our range of indoor flowering plants to add a pop of colour to your home.