Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Scottish Harebell, Bluebells of Scotland, Harebell
Campanula rotundifolia

Family: Campanulaceae (kam-pan-yew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Campanula (kam-PAN-yoo-luh) (Info)
Species: rotundifolia (ro-tun-dih-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

17 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 23 photos.
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8 positives
4 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On Dec 12, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Pretty plants for the rock-garden, very long blooming. Individual plants are short-lived and rely on self-sowing for continuity in the garden. This will not make a weed-suppressing groundcover.

I've never found them to spread underground. The invasive bellflower with the thick root is C. rapunculoides.

Neutral altagardener On Apr 27, 2013, altagardener from Calgary, AB (Zone 3b) wrote:

From the photo you show, your problem plant is not Campanula rotundifolia but is instead Campanula rampunculoides, which is indeed an extremely invasive weed. It would be great if you could move the photo to the right species.

Positive Wildernessgirl On Jun 13, 2012, Wildernessgirl from Mountain Village, CO wrote:

I use it as a border in my wildflower garden and love them. They are very easy to grow and don't require much from me. They bloom all summer into fall. I love how dependable they are. One or two this week are struggling because I overwatered them when growing new grass. I have had no problem with them being invasive. I wish the seed from plants would spread and grow more. I have about 15 that I planted myself.

Negative paulks On Jun 17, 2011, paulks from Denver, CO wrote:

Beware of this plant. I enjoyed Harebell Campanula for about 10 years (and it was in place even longer--the previous owners of my house planted it). It provided a low-maintenance bank of purple bank during the summer months. The problem developed two years ago. A devastating hail storm and tornado-like wind stuck my Denver neighborhood in August 2009. The wind must have spread Harebell seeds far and wide. Since then, the plant has overtaken the rest of my garden, infiltrating soil and crevices between rocks and paving stones. Neighbors are now battling the blight too.

This plant has finger-sized tubers (rhizomes) buried about 8" below the surface. Pulling the stem out does not kill the plant. The tuber sends up new shoots several weeks later. It is very difficult to dig up. Broken tubers aren't killed, but send up new shoots instead. Next week a landscaping crew will do battle with herbicide. Let's see who wins. This is a tenacious plant!

Positive hairyjo On Mar 27, 2011, hairyjo from Danville, CA wrote:

I have mine in a pot and it is one of my favorite plants in my garden. It starts blooming in March and never stops.

Positive Erutuon On Jun 4, 2009, Erutuon from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

I bet the invasive plant one person mentioned is actually creeping bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides), which looks somewhat similar but spreads by runners.

I've seen harebell in the cliffs along the St. Croix and it seems the very opposite of invasive.

[edit] Got the plant last year at a local garden center and planted it in a patch of garden recently converted from lawn. It's thriving last year it sent up one flower spike, then a lot of new flower spikes from the leaf axils of the first spike. This year it's sending up lots of flower stems, as thick as grass.

It seems to me that it likes good deep soil; probably it only grows in cliffs because it'd be overwhelmed by other plants in more favorable soil.

So far I haven't seen any seedlings, and the plant has stayed in a tight clump.

This spring (2011) I took some cuttings of shoots from the base of the plant and placed them in the ground to grow new plants. It's been an unusually cool and rainy spring, so they seem to be taking root.

Positive Malus2006 On Oct 15, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

In my opinion harebells loves poor soil, not just "tolerate it". In fact the only place in Minnesota that I have seen it is either on the North Shores, growing between cracks of rocks near Lake Superior or near large outcrops of rocks - recently I saw a blooming speciment at O' Brien State Park growing on the small rocky cliffs that drop down to the St. Croix river. They also seem to like sandy environments where the sands are more unpredictable or less competitions from taller plants. I also have the feeling it is rated close to zone 2 hardy as I have seen it in Alaska in boreal and almost alpine habitation - I think I have seen it growing in areas where glaciers had retreated (in rocky and sandy locations) but is not 100% sure. From my observation it seem to be at the most common in boreal environments, seemly resent being crowded by taller plants in the wild thought seem there are reference to it growing in grassy prairie habitation so there may be another reason why it is largely absent from other habitation?

Positive WILLIEB On Jul 29, 2008, WILLIEB from Chimacum, WA wrote:

I have h ad this plant for 8-9 years. It has not spread all over my garden! It is in partial shade, and has been very slow growing. I would be happy for it to grow a little faster! It is one of my favorite flowers.

Positive dkm65 On Jul 23, 2007, dkm65 from Cedar Falls, IA (Zone 4b) wrote:

Some comments state that this species has naturalized in the U.S., but it is a U.S. native (in fact it is circumboreal, so native to much of the northern hemisphere). Other comments state it is invasive, but at least where I live (NE Iowa), I wish it were more assertive, as it is anything but aggressive in our native prairie garden.

It is a very delicate looking plant, and will therefore tend to intermingle with other surrounding plants. It can have a bit of difficulty standing up on its own, at least in the first couple years while the roots get established, and does best when grown in crowds.

Very attractive, showy flower that attracts hummingbirds. Ours bloom for months, from late spring/early summer into August.

Good drought tolerance, & likes well-drained to sandy soil.

Latin species name comes from the round leaves found only at the base of the stem, while its most visible leaves are long and thin. I've heard two accounts of the common name, harebell. First is that it grows where there are lots of rabbits. The second is an association with witches, which is some folklore could turn themselves into hares. An older Scottish name is witches' thimble, which may or may not help explain the witch-rabbit connection. Endangered & "exploitably vulnerable" in OH & NY, respectively.

Neutral frostweed On Mar 2, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Scottish Harebell, Bluebells of Scotland, Harebell Campanula rotundifolia is Naturalized in Texas and other States,

Positive SW_gardener On Mar 24, 2006, SW_gardener from (Zone 6a) wrote:

Grown in part shade, it forms a nice clump that flowers most of the summer. The last year or two I've had some sort of disease on my Campanulas that twists and contorts them....ending up with me pulling the plants so that it won't infect them all. Has anyone else had this? Or know what causes it? I beleive it's viral..but I'm not sure. If anyone has info on this let me know please! Thanks :)

Positive LilyLover_UT On Jan 18, 2005, LilyLover_UT from Ogden, UT (Zone 5b) wrote:

I haven't found this to be invasive in my garden. I started mine from seed. The plants spread slowly to form a patch, and they bloom all summer long. The lavender-blue bells are very pretty.

Negative drewfondrk On Apr 24, 2004, drewfondrk wrote:

I noticed this plant growing in our neighborhood and decided to add it to our garden. Big mistake! It may be the most invasive plant I've ever seen. It spreads rapidly by roots and seeds and once established it is nearly impossible to eradicate. Use it only in areas where it can be contained.

Neutral poppysue On Nov 8, 2000, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

Campanula rotundifolia Scottish harebell is a perennial and hardy from zones 3-9. It forms a loose rosette of rounded leaves and sends up multiple wiry stems with nodding, 1-inch, lilac flowers. Plants grow 12-15 inches tall in full sun or partial shade. Scottish harebells have become naturalized throughout the Northern Hemisphere and theyre a nice plant for a wildflower garden. Theyre tolerant of poor soils and will re-seed themselves through the garden.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anchorage, Alaska (2 reports)
Happy Jack, Arizona
Blackhawk-camino Tassajara, California
Perris, California
Santa Ana, California
Denver, Colorado
Telluride, Colorado
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Wilmette, Illinois
West Lafayette, Indiana
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Elkton, Maryland
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Saint Helen, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
Belton, Missouri
Big Timber, Montana
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon
Orefield, Pennsylvania
Leesburg, Virginia
Chimacum, Washington
Eatonville, Washington
Madison, Wisconsin

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