Ultimate Campanula Varieties: Best Bellflowers For Every Garden

campanula portenschlagiana flowering in summer border
(Image credit: Andreas Häuslbetz)

Many campanula varieties make a beautiful addition to gardens and borders with their delicate purple or white blooms. Also known as bellflowers, campanula plants add a quaint and dainty charm to any home landscape. Ranging in form and growth habit, several campanula species are ideal in containers and formal beds. Learning more about each of these types will help you select and grow campanula bellflowers that are best suited to your needs. Here, we'll explore some of the most versatile. 

Select The Best Campanula Varieties for Your Needs

The genus Campanula includes various cultivars of annuals, biennials, and perennials for you to choose from. So how do you know which types of campanula have the best chance of reaching their full potential in your beds, borders and containers? This selection includes flowering options for impact and longevity, prolific and extended flowering, height and compact growing. Plus, we explore the full range of colors to help you pick the perfect bellflower for your garden.

Campanula for Perennial Gardens

campanula rotundifolia growing in garden bed

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Though most bellflowers are considered to be short-lived, perennial campanula varieties are a great option for dependable color in flower borders and beds, season after season. Species like Campanula carpatica and Campanula rotundifolia (pictured) are especially popular. These cultivars produce delicate bells of soft color, plus beautiful mounds of low-growing foliage.

Bellflowers for Lots of Blooms

campanula portenschlagiana blossoming in summer flower bed

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Many campanula varieties are known for their immense blooming power. You can create a veritable wall of color using dense plantings within the landscape. Those with larger flowers will complement plants for a cutting garden or mixed border. You can also grow smaller types for an impressive floral display. Campanula portenschlagiana, for example, quickly covers informal beds and rock gardens with brilliant, blue-purple flowers. 

Campanula for Flowers All Summer

campanula bellflower flowering in summer display

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Bloom time varies greatly among bellflower species. Many types begin to flower while the weather is still cool, between late spring and early summer. This is especially true of many biennial and perennial cultivars. However, others will bloom throughout the entirety of the summer season, provided conditions are suitable. Try 'Summertime Blues' for an extended season of silver-blue blooms.

Bellflowers for Deep Purple Blooms

Campanula portenschlagiana with deep purple flowers in a garden border

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Campanula plants may not have a broad spectrum of hues, but their intense purples are unforgettable. So if you want to create a garden of purple, you'll be spoiled for choice! These tones are commonly found throughout the genus, specifically open-pollinated varieties. Campanula plants with purple blooms include Campanula glomerata, Campanula poscharskyana (pictured) and Campanula pyramidalis

Campanula for White Blooms

Campanula persicifolia alba growing in flower bed

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If you prefer white garden flowers for their crisp, bright and classic appearance, you're in luck. You can grow white bellflowers that seem to illuminate beds with their star-shaped petals. Notable among these white campanula varieties is Campanula persicifolia (pictured). 'Alba' is among the most popular white cultivars within the genus. 

Tall Campanula Varieties

Campanula lactiflora Prichard's Variety growing in flower border

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Types of tall campanula are best used in cutting gardens and mixed borders. Many taller varieties of bellflower belong to the species Campanula lactiflora (pictured). Another type, Campanula medium, accounts for most cut varieties used by florists. Popular cultivars include the Champion series, as well as Flore Plena 'Double'.

Low-Growing Campanula Varieties

campanula tussock bellflower growing along garden path

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Low-growing campanula varieties make a stunning addition to containers, as well as attractive groundcover. Campanula cochleariifolia are some of the shortest types, reaching only 4 inches (10 cm) tall. Other popular species include Campanula carpatica (or tussock bellflower, pictured) and Campanula portenschlagiana. Both of these are also known for their profusions of flowers. 

Types of Campanula for Shade

campanula Serbian bellflower growing in shaded border

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Most campanula thrive where they can receive full sun. However, many tolerate some shade. This is especially true in regions where they benefit from shelter through the hottest parts of the day. Though most require at least partial sunlight, types specifically adapted to shade include Campanula lactiflora, Campanula garganica and Campanula poscharskyana (also known as Serbian bellflowers, pictured).

Native Campanula Varieties to Grow 

Despite great diversity among the genus, Campanula americana is one of few species native to the United States. These plants are most commonly found growing in cool, woodland areas near streams and rivers. So if you are looking to grow a woodland garden, this bellflower is a pretty option. As a biennial, you can expect plants to produce vegetative growth in the first season. This is followed by a large flush of blooms in the second.

Invasive Varieties of Campanula to Avoid

Campanula plants seldom become invasive. However, some campanula species are more prone to spread than others. Of special interest among these campanula varieties are those that multiply through production of underground rhizomes. Campanula glomerata and Campanula punctata are some of the most problematic. 

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has trasformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/@tonyawiththeflowers.