Ornamental plants, particularly flowering plants, are the key feature of many beautiful gardens nowadays. As a gardener, I prefer to grow them to give a visual treat to the eyes.
If you read my previous article about Campanula Portenschlagiana, today I’m going to introduce another flowing plant in the family Campanulaceae, called Campanula Americana.
It is known as an American native that you can find from the Dakota east to New York and the Great Lakes areas south to Florida.
Are you willing to discover this lovely flower and then grow it in your garden?
Follow me now.
- What is Campanula Americana?
- How to Grow, Plant, and Care For Campanula Americana
- How About Pest Control?
- Still Hesitate To Grow This Native Plant For Your Garden?
- What Will You Do Now?
What is Campanula Americana?
Take a Glance
- Common name: tall bellflower or American Bellflower
- Family: Campanulaceae
- Genus: Campanula
- Type: wildflowers
- Life cycle: annual or biennial
- Bloom time: June to August
- Native range: America
Usually, most of the wildflowers in the Campanula family originate from the UK or the Mediterranean areas.
But this plant is not.
From the Latin, “Campanula” stands for “little bell;” meanwhile, “Americana” is all about the place of the plant (horticulturist Carl Linnaeus first found it in 1753).
As compared to the others of this family, tall bellflower distinguishes itself by its opening flowers rather than turning to a bell shape.
In the wild, you easily catch these beautiful light blue/violet spikes growing in moist fields or woodland regions.
Get a Full Description
On the top of the stem, you will see a column of blue flowers with white centers. The green calyx is tubular with green bracts, and long tips turned outward.
Each flower has five petals with tapered curled tips that are around a disk ending with a long blue pistil pointing out. Meanwhile, the stamens look like curved yellow ribbons surrounding the pistil’s base.
The green leaves are broad and long in the center tapering at both ends. Each leaf has a short petiole, long tip, and toothed edges.
This plant is unbranched with stems growing from 2 to 6 feet tall, though some develop from the lower center stem. The central stem is light green, hairy, slightly grooved, and terete.
The stems are stiff and try to develop straight yet often grow at a bend or angle.
The root of the tall bellflower is an annual or biennial taproot.
The length of the calyx bracts will be doubled and changed into brown surrounding the growing seeds.
Meanwhile, the seeds are in small bunches that have holes open. Relying on that, the seeds can be scattered.
The preference of the American bellflower is rich loamy soil, moist to mesic conditions, and light shade to partial sun.
If a drought happens, this plant will drop its lower leaves. So, depending on the fertility of the soil and moisture conditions, its size can be variable.
How to Grow, Plant, and Care For Campanula Americana
As outlined above, tall bellflower is an annual or a biennial. And it mainly depends on when the seeds germinate.
For instance, if you germinate them in the early spring, they will bloom that season. In case you do late in the season, they will overwinter and blossom the following year.
It is easy to start from seed and develop since this plant will self-seed.
So, how to grow Campanula Americana?
Let me help you.
Step 1 – Sowing
Once again, the American bellflower has the unique ability to be either a biennial or an annual, depending on the time it is cultivated.
For development as a biennial, you need to mix the seed with moist and then store it in the refrigerator about 30 days before growing in early spring. Remember to transplant or thin the seedlings.
For development as an annual, you need to direct sow in late fall and plant the seeds on the surface of the soil.
Step 2 – Planting
The tall bellflower can adapt well to clay or sand and develop best in partial shade and moist soil. But REMEMBER that it requires equally wet soil and has weak resistance of drought.
In the first stage of development, this plant often comes with a low cluster of leaves, followed by the tall flowering stalk.
Although it will self-seed, this process takes place quite slowly.
Step 3 – Caring
In spring, you need to apply a thin layer of compost and a complete organic fertilizer, followed by a layer of mulch (2 inches) to maintain the moist and manage weeds.
During the summer, water is a MUST in case rainfall is less than 1 inch every week.
Step 4 – Harvesting
If you want to get fresh flowers, simply cut the stems when they have begun to blossom. Then put them in water instantly.
Step 5 – Seed saving
The small seed pods on the stalk will ripen at various times, so the seeds should be harvested over time.
To remove the seeds, simply shake the whole plant over a box or container. Then repeat this process every few days until the seeds have ripened. After that, store the cleaned seeds in a dry and cool place for the next planting season.
Step 6 – Transplanting and propagating
When the plant reaches 4 inches tall, it is time to transplant its seedlings into larger pots or the garden. Make sure they are in well-draining soil and at a sunny place.
When planting, you need to make a large hole to accommodate the seedling yet not too deep. Besides, always keep the top portion of the roots at ground level. Later, water well.
Step 7 – Propagating
You can let this plant self-sow or collect the seeds and then throw them down anywhere you want. Or you can sow the seeds in individual pots for planting out later.
In my opinion, it is best to combine all three ways so that you can grow in different places rather than developing them in one fixed area.
All in all, growing the American bellflower from seeds is one of the most economical ways to add beauty to your backyard. Make sure you read all these steps carefully and then you can do everything with ease.
Additionally, if you want to grow this plant in pots or with bare roots, it is still possible.
Just NOTE that:
- For bare roots, you can plant during cold weather or anytime the soil is not solid.
- For potted plants, the best thing is to develop in individual pots. And each container should be 2 inches wide and 5 inches deep in trays or 2.5 inches wide and 3.5 inches deep in the 3-packs.
How About Pest Control?
In terms of diseases and pests of Campanula, especially for the American bellflower, you need to watch for aphids, slugs, and snails.
If catching any distorted development or yellowing leaves, that means aphids infest your plant.
So, what should you do?
Use insecticidal soap and spray (make sure to focus on the underside of leaves) to eliminate aphids. To the slugs and snails, it is simple to handpick them off the plant or put a snail trap nearby.
Still Hesitate To Grow This Native Plant For Your Garden?
There are many reasons why I suggest growing this beautiful plant in the backyard. And hopefully, after knowing them, you also do like I did.
First of all, it is native and found developing in woodlands or forest edges from moist to dry areas. It is also an adaptable plant and grows well on disturbed regions.
The second reason is that American bellflower is a natural pollinator magnet.
If what you need is to attract pollinators to your backyard, this plant is the best choice. Lots of species such as bees, wasps, butterflies, and hummingbirds will visit and search for nectar and pollen.
The next reason is all about its ease of planting and propagation.
The tall bellflower often develops in both wet and dry spots in the garden (yet be shorter in the dryer places, so be careful).
With a sturdy stem, you don’t need to worry that it will lean like other taller plants. Even if it reaches a height of 5 feet, it never needs staking.
The propagation is straightforward as long as you follow what I suggested above.
Last but not least, these plants are beautiful and unique. Try to imagine that they will be blooming in the heat of July and make your garden stunning.
What Will You Do Now?
If you are interested in my recommendation for adding another beautiful plant to your garden, Campanula Americana, to any shade or part-shade garden, just PLANT it.
This blue-violet flower will bloom in your garden as well as give a bright late-summer scent.
And in my upcoming posts about the family Campanulaceae, you also discover many varieties. But believe me, you cannot find any plant that is similar to that one. It is because the tall bellflower is the only one with wide-spread petals.
Overall, I hope you enjoyed this article.
If you have any comments or queries about it, feel free to leave them in the box below. I’m happy to help you.