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PlantFiles: Canterbury Bells
Campanula medium var. calycanthema

Family: Campanulaceae (kam-pan-yew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Campanula (kam-PAN-yoo-luh) (Info)
Species: medium var. calycanthema

27 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

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)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Medium Blue
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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10 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive predler On Jul 17, 2011, predler from Missoula, MT wrote:

This plant is a biennial in this area of Montana (Zone 4b), and the comment to mark them is very important. I almost pulled them out, thinking they were a weed before they bloomed. They are gorgeous; mine bloom in dark purple, white and lavender. I planted them from seed several years ago. My only problem, especially this year, is they need to be staked or they will be on the ground after a heavy rain or wind.

Positive diwill On Jun 11, 2007, diwill from Wheeling, WV wrote:

Here in northern WV I tried to grow these from seed 2 years in a row with lousy results. Last fall, I dug up the one tiny plant that survived summer, put it in a pot in the basement for the winter (with occasional grow-light and water). I brought the sad looking remnant outside this Spring, sat it in full sun, and now I have a sprawling plant absolutely covered with large blooms. One side of the plant has cups AND saucers, the other side is producing only cups. Regardless, it is gorgeous and was worth the wait. Hopefully, will be able to harvest seeds and start over again next season.

Positive dannieaturner On Jan 13, 2007, dannieaturner from New Richmond, WI wrote:

I bought this as a seedling a few years ago at a roadside nursery. It was very beautiful. Only grew that one summer but was worth the effort.

Positive darius On Oct 5, 2006, darius from So.App.Mtns.
United States (Zone 5b) wrote:

Positive so far, but I only have seedlings I need to get in the ground before cold weather... 300 of them! I'm hoping to sell them as cut flowers next year. They were easy to germinate in trays although somewhat slow to grow to real leaves.

Positive phyllisjoy On Jul 25, 2006, phyllisjoy from Libertyville, IL wrote:

i planted pink canterbury bells for the first time this spring. the first plant bloomed beautifully - the second isn't quite as colorful (heat?) and the third on has a nice green base, but no sign of an flower stalks coming yet. will i be able to save the seed pods in the same way i save hollyhock seeds and plant them indoors next march?

Positive cartdog On Jun 18, 2006, cartdog from Idaho Falls, ID wrote:

Although a biennial in Zone 4 it is worth the effort. Large bells (cups) with equally impressive saucers in both deep purple and white. My plants are very vigorous, with up to 20 prolific stems per plant. They make impressive cut flowers. These flowers seem more robust than the regular canterbury bells (without the saucer), as I have both currently in my garden.

Positive AnnaCount On Aug 29, 2004, AnnaCount from Pinckney, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

If you grow plants from seeds, as I did, make sure you clearly label and stake out the area where they are planted, or you'll end up with 'surprise plants' like I did!

For the longest time I remained puzzled about these plants, and the flower pods seemed to take forever to open. The stem was 3' tall and covered with leaves and mystery bloom pods, and my curiosity nearly killed me. When they did finally open in early June, the blooms were spectacular!

It is now the end of August, and there are still some blooms opening on these plants! And bells cut off at the stem and kept in a vase last for weeks, as long as the water is changed daily.

Positive frogsrus On Jul 13, 2003, frogsrus from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Garden fairy, aka DD, evidently planted these in a cottage garden mix she threw about. Didn't know what it was. After 2 years I told it "bloom or be removed." Low and behold, 4 colors and all beautious. Query. Can I move them? The grand design did not include them where they are currently residing.

Positive PurplePansies On Jul 9, 2003, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

My experience with this plant was positive. Very easy to grow, (I'm in the Mid-Atlantic), didn't seem to mind the very acid soil near evergreen shrubs, seemed to thrive in it! Very pretty. They were shorter than I expected, but required no special care, (except staking some), no diseases or bugs, and they germinated quickly from seed.

Positive redsam1942 On Feb 26, 2003, redsam1942 from Newberg, OR wrote:

I planted these with painted daisies (pyrethrum) and the effect was really pleasing. This is a great color spot to provide blues among all the pastels in most gardens.

Neutral gardenwife On May 1, 2002, gardenwife from Newark, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Mine bloomed nicely last summer, but did not make it through our zone 5 winter.

Neutral lantana On Jan 4, 2001, lantana from (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grows in Heat Zones 9-1.

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

A classic cottage garden plant, this biennial bellflower has large showy blooms of pink, blue, purple, and white. There are varieties sold now that claim they can be grown as an annual but typically they are grown as a biennial. The first year they form a rosette of deep green foliage and in the second year they send up multiple stems with 3-inch cup shaped blooms. A native of southern Europe, they grow 2 4 feet tall and are hardy in zones 4-10.


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

Atascadero, California
Chowchilla, California
Citrus Heights, California
Duarte, California
Elk Grove, California
Grass Valley, California
Los Angeles, California
San Diego, California
Canon City, Colorado
Cumming, Georgia
Boise, Idaho
Libertyville, Illinois
Greenville, Indiana
Barbourville, Kentucky
Dennis Port, Massachusetts
Bellaire, Michigan
Mason, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Young America, Minnesota
Salem, New Hampshire
Port Norris, New Jersey
North Tonawanda, New York
Utica, New York
Mooresville, North Carolina
Geneva, Ohio
Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Beaverton, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Albion, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Austin, Texas
Gilmer, Texas
Marion, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Chilton, Wisconsin

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