Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Creeping Bellflower, Rampion Bellflower, June Bell
Campanula rapunculoides

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Family: Campanulaceae (kam-pan-yew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Campanula (kam-PAN-yoo-luh) (Info)
Species: rapunculoides (rap-un-kul-OY-deez) (Info)

Synonym:Campanula rapunculoides var. ucranica

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Perennials

Height:
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Spacing:
12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Hardiness:
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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Violet/Lavender

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:
Herbaceous
Smooth-Textured

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

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

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 11 photos.
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Profile:

4 positives
8 neutrals
19 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative coriaceous On May 27, 2013, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

An insidious weed, one whose true nature takes several years to reveal itself. I would never plant this in any situation.

I have found that, with care and persistence, it can be controlled with 2% glyphosate, most effective when applied in late spring (mid May in Boston) just before it sends up its flower scapes---that's when it has the most leafy growth. Eradicating it may require repeated applications over several successive years---don't be too hasty in planting another perennial in the same spot.

As several people have noted, digging is an ineffective means of control. I've known many who've tried to eradicate it by digging, and no one who's succeeded. Early in my gardening career I deeply dug the same plant every week for most of a summer. I have no doubt it's still there.

The seeds are small and lightweight and equipped with wings for transport on the wind. Whole neighborhoods are swiftly colonized this way.

Note: Creeping bellflower is Campanula rapunculoides. Rampion (as in the story of Rapunzel) is Campanula rapunculus, a different species which has not been reported as invasive in the USA. As the botanical names suggest---"rapunculoides" means "that looks like rampion"---they are similar in appearance. Both have edible fleshy white roots.

In the USA, most plants and seeds sold and traded as various Adenophora species are actually Campanula rapunculoides. Let the buyer beware!

Negative Sailgirlsue On May 26, 2013, Sailgirlsue from Anchorage, AK wrote:

I bought this plant at a nursery. It was pretty, but it is monster in disguise. It is highly invasive. I spend most of my time in my perennial beds doing battle with this plant. It spreads by seed and underground. It overwhelms other plants and kills them. I have had it for four years. Where there were once three plants there are now hundreds. There is no way to get rid of it once it takes hold. If you value your perennials you will not buy this plant and put it in your garden. It was a huge mistake that I regret every summer.

Positive 123fore On Aug 24, 2012, 123fore from Falmouth, VA wrote:

found it easy to control and what a delightful show of blue! When given good soil it is a majestic tall plant.

Negative raymodj On Oct 15, 2011, raymodj from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

Don't do it! I moved into this house 6 years ago and didn't have much time for yard work, and the bellflowers on the side of the house looked nice (and harmless). 2 years ago I finished all the inside work (remodelling kitchen, bathroom, stripping and staining woodwork, etc) and was finally able to do more than just a quick mow. During my quick mows, I did see the bellflower was spreading along the fence, but I figured I could deal with them later. Of course "later" I found this bellflower all over my entire yard, even jumped the sidewalk by growing in the crack, and is now in both neighbors yards! I'm digging up roots the size of carrots, but after 2 years work, I'm MAYBE a little better off than when I started, but just barely. How hard it is to kill? The first 4 years here, I raked all our leaves from a HUGE elm tree into a 7 x 7 chicken wire fence and let it SLOWLY compost (whole leaves that I didn't turn over). It got maybe 3 or 4 feet deep, with matting that would rot most perennials if you didn't get it off quickly enough in spring. When I finally took it all out to spread around the yard, under that 7 x 7 area I noticed what I guess would be called blanched bellflowers that then eventually started to GROW AGAIN! Hard to smother, hard to pull, even hard to poison (yes, I finally gave in and tried chemicals, but even round up didn't work). Now I notice and loath this plant all over our neighborhood. Especially up and down alleys. It's easy enough to harass it and pull it out of the ground since the tap root doesn't come out, but just like when I try to push our boxer out of my way, they come back twice as strong. :)

Neutral garbanzito On Jul 5, 2011, garbanzito from Denver, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:

in our dry Denver garden this bellflower wanders a bit but only finds success in a few areas under a pine tree and in a large iris bed; it is a little scraggly, but pleasant to look at when clumped; only mildly aggressive and doesn't take away as much as it gives

Neutral alborada On Jun 14, 2011, alborada from Finksburg, MD wrote:

Whoops! My mother in law gave me a few plants and I put them in my little 5 x 20 foot bed... and thought they were a veronica type. But nooooooo, they came up with these beautiful bell flowers and at first I was happy, then I got on here and a) identified them and b) read these horror stories! Thankfully they have only been in the ground about 6 weeks and they are coming out today and going into a POT. They are too pretty to just throw out and I don't mind deadheading. I just hope that 6 weeks is not enough time for the roots to get spunky.

Negative nanton On May 23, 2011, nanton from Nanton
Canada wrote:

This pretty-yet-evil plant sat quietly in my zone 3 garden for about 5 years while secretly organizing an underground army which it released this spring. It is now all through my perennial bed, and I saw it in many lawns as I walked around town today. I spent hours yesterday trying to dig out its long white tubers from among all the plants, and imagine it will take many more hours this summer. If you rototill, it will just enable it to spread even further and faster by cutting the roots into tiny soldiers, multiplying like crazy. I will be painting Round-up or some other glyphosate-containing variation on leaves I can't dig out. Do not let this plant fool you.

Negative nunaya On Apr 21, 2011, nunaya from Woburn, MA wrote:

O.M.G. I've never encountered anything like this. The comments that refer to it as the "cancer of the garden", "aliens", and nightmares are all dead on. I've dealt with invasives with success in the past, using organic methods, even, but this beast cannot be bested. Pull one plant, and two will grow in its place- literally.
And, yes, how is it that a vendor actually has this plant for sale here? Yikes. Don't buy it, don't take it for free, build a moat.

Negative sandlefoot On Jun 22, 2010, sandlefoot from Alliance, NE wrote:

A friend of mine went for a walk to take a break from work. She came back with a handful of "pretty blue flowers". I screamed, "Bluebells!" Anyway I've completely dug spots out of our garden, going down 2 feet, thrown away all the dirt, put in new and next year they're back happy as can be. The roots are like super carrots that go down to China! ( I have heard they're edible.) Bad stuff!

Negative seattleboo On Jun 21, 2010, seattleboo from Seattle, WA wrote:

I have recently renovated a small garden in Seattle that had been ignored for a number of years. It was my introduction to C. rapunculoides which had spread to cover large areas of the beds. This garden has good, loose soil which certainly agrees with this invasive. It spreads with stolons and develops carrot-sized or larger tubers. I have dug out hundreds and must re-weed on a weekly basis to cull resprouts. In short, it is a very adaptable, aggressive invasive that requires meticulous removal efforts to defeat. Sharing this plant with anyone would be cruel indeed and your reward for enjoying its small bellflowers will be a future garden devoted to it. Eradicate if at all possible.

Negative ottawagrower On Jun 9, 2010, ottawagrower from Ottawa
Canada wrote:

This is a horrible plant. I have tried and tried to get rid of it. Goutweed was easy in comparison. Please do not plant it. You will regret it.

Negative kelkel On May 2, 2010, kelkel from Juneau, AK wrote:

Digging, Digging, digging, with hopes it will work. I laughed so hard reading the previous posts. It's awful. yes, dreams. It wears on me the work that I have to do. I saw one Alaska gardeners site that said the the weed killer Roundup will kill but you have to carefully apply it to the plant, and I'm not sure how, maybe with a paint brush. But I've been digging yesterday and last fall, and about 2 weeks ago. The rhizomes look like white longish raddishes or carrots and they are deep and then when you finally pull, you think that maybe the tip of it is still way down there. I have been sifting through my fingers even the tiniest hair-like roots. It's great when you can carefully keep the rhizomes together. it is tedious and gentle work, if you want to get it all, but one site I have says that you just can't get it all and they will come back. At this point, i'm determined. I have one area that they still thrive, densely, and I think I'll just carefully cut the flower stalk and dispose of them before they can seed out. not sure. Okay, good luck everybody, I'm in Juneau, Alaska, and they're here. They call them the Purple Monster.

Negative ricochetvigil On Nov 9, 2009, ricochetvigil from Santa Fe, NM wrote:

I too thought this was a lovely, tall flower. That is, until I realized, all too late, just how invasive this flower is. I spent the better part of last week shovelling and screening an area to remove any and all of its root system. This plant loves to spread via this manner. I will let everyone know just how effective this method is next spring. I think its also known as adenophora liliifolia too or false campanula.

Negative Ecotones On Jun 3, 2009, Ecotones from Winnipeg
Canada wrote:

This plant is EVIL... it chokes out everything in it's path. I have a large native shade garden, and have been selectively weeding it out weekly for 3 years with little success. The bellflower invaded from neighbours seed (and presumably some resistant rhysomes) shortly after the beds were established. To my amazement... the round-up used to prep the site didn't kill the root stock... it only freed it from competition.

PLEASE... PLEASE... PLEASE... DON'T INTRODUCE THIS MENACE TO YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD. There are many resiliant and longer-flowering alternatives to use in your garden.

Negative kmenzel On Jun 2, 2009, kmenzel from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

This has to be one of the most persistent, horrible weeds out there. I spent several hours with three friends trying to clear it from a fairly small area this afternoon, where it had become happily established, choking out everything else. It is extremely difficult to dig out, forming what I call "the mother ship," a big tuberous root mass that seems to store infinite energy to send out new leaves, no matter how many times you dig out what's above ground. I have one patch I've been religiously de-leafing for 10 years with no luck killing it. It may trick you with its pretty purple flowers, but if this monster ever makes it into your yard and you have any other plants you want to grow, you will be very, very sorry! You will forever have nightmares of purple flowers. The fact that some people grow this ON PURPOSE, and that there is actually a VENDOR of it listed on this page, is beyond belief.

Negative anelson77 On May 18, 2009, anelson77 from Seattle, WA wrote:

This plant often "volunteers" in weedy places in Seattle. I suspect it of being an invasive exotic with potential to overrun native wildflowers and would never plant it.

Neutral holeth On Apr 24, 2009, holeth from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Despite its bad habits, I'm enticed by its beauty & the constant buzzing of critters. It's great as a cutting flower. I often give them as gifts in bouquets. I know that I shouldn't grow it, and yet I can't get myself to completely give it up... Native bees feed on its pollen. Doesn't that count for something?

When I was about 13, I found mine growing out of a crack of pavement. It was a single stem of 6-8 blossoms leaping from a tiny rosette. It was adorable and slated for the weed whacker or the next parallel park job. I'd seen true bellflowers in my Heidi book, and I instantly wanted it in my garden. This was no hosta or Virginia bluebell. This was the real McCoy.

There were no other plants around to ask someone exactly what kind it was or where it came from. I had no idea what I was getting into! After it started spreading, I got a clue about the work in my future, but I didn't identify it until I joined DG last yr!

I strongly disagree about this being a plant for lazy gardeners. Non-native invasive species should either not be cultivated or kept on a tight leash. They need responsible folks who will take the time to keep them in check. I have to dead head this plant immediately after it blooms. (...& it often blooms twice: late June & early August!) Every year, I throw away about half of the plants that spread by root or the few seeds I missed.

I will always keep it in a planter to minimize the root spreading. It's so hard to kill that it can freeze solid without worry, so who cares if it's outside all year in a box? I don't want a patch of hundreds for a seasonal display. I just want to remember that little stem shooting up out of the pavement.

Negative meblum On Jul 18, 2008, meblum from Denver, CO wrote:

We call it "cancer of the garden" in the Rocky Mountain area.

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

Creeping Bellflower, Rampion Bellflower, June Bell Campanula rapunculoides is Naturalized in Texas and other States.

Neutral whirlybird On Aug 15, 2006, whirlybird from Portland, ME wrote:

This plant was in the garden when we bought our house a year ago. I love blue flowers, and bumblebees love it too. It blooms at the same time as, and gives a nice contrast to, orange daylilies (ditch lilies, not anything you'd spend money on) which were also here -- but everything everyone has said about its invasiveness and refusal to be rooted out of the garden is absolutely true. It actually grew up through a small hosta and is crowding into everything in a raised bed. I plan to keep weeding it, add mulch, and plant wildflower perennials like yarrow and Joe Pye weed to this particular area of the garden, so we'll see what a little competition will do.

Negative picante On May 31, 2006, picante from Helena, MT (Zone 4b) wrote:

It takes over flower beds and lawns. The more you pull it, the more it grows. It has breached 12 layers of newsprint (sheet mulch) in my yard. If you have the time to dig up all the tubers (the white carrots), you can make a dent in it. I rototilled along our fence where it was thick, and it has come in strong right next to the strip I tilled (meaning it has invaded the lawn).

Neutral kbaumle On Jun 26, 2005, kbaumle from Northwest, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

We just dug some of this out of the ditch across from our neighbor's house and planted it. I have a wildflower garden that I put all of my 'free' plants in that we find in the woods, along the roadside, etc. We'll see how it does in a 'controlled' environment. I appreciate the 'invasive' warning. I'll keep an eye on it.

Negative Vanmo On Jun 1, 2005, Vanmo from Rochester, NY wrote:

This plant is terribly invasive. It was growing in a corner of my yard when I moved here 7 years ago, and it has spread about 6 feet outward since then, in spite of my weeding it out. Tonight I kept digging at roots until I found some large tap roots at the center. I felt like a hero burning Dracula's casket. I know this isn't the end, though. There are more evil spawn out there to conquer.

Negative bc336 On Apr 13, 2005, bc336 from Boulder, CO wrote:

Where I live In Colorado, as in most of western & north central US (and parts of Canada), this plant is considered an invasive weed. Yes, I do believe it is beautiful, and yes, it is very easy to grow. A quick Google search will reveal a lot. Unless you live in Europe, I encourage you to research more about this plant before allowing it to enter your life.

Positive Becko On Jul 26, 2004, Becko from Landmark
Canada wrote:

I enjoy this flower's constant bloom, and it fills in where I have holes.

Positive conniecola On Jul 15, 2004, conniecola from Lincoln, NE wrote:

I like this plant, and have never had any trouble with it choking out other plants. It's been in my garden for 2-3 years now. I live in zone 5. Maybe after it's been in my garden longer it will become invasive, and I will have to get rid of it, but so far, so good!

Neutral joeleahy On Jul 14, 2004, joeleahy from Crofton, MD wrote:

I found Creeping Bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides) growing wild in a meadow near Cortland NY this week (August 2004). I used the field guide by Peterson & McKenny A Field Guide to Wildflowers to id it since it was new to me. The field guide says the style is long, straight, and white. In the flowers I saw and the photos on this website show a purple or lavendar colored style, definitely not white. Is Peterson wrong or is the purple-colored style a different variety?

Negative daredevil On Nov 27, 2003, daredevil from Niagara Falls, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

It's considered a weed here in zone 6 NY. I have been battling it since I moved here 18 years ago and don't believe I will ever get it out of the hedge. It is included in the R.T. Peterson Field Guide to Wildflowers as "alien" and it always reminds me of the movie ALIEN -- that one was hard to kill, too.

Negative echoes On Nov 24, 2003, echoes from South of Winnipeg, MB (Zone 3a) wrote:

This is the perfect plant for the lazy gardener. Put this in your yard and soon you won't have to look after any other plants. If it's this invasive in zone 3, imagine what it can do for you in a warmer zone. It's a magic plant, coming up everywhere and returning where you thought you had killed it all. This plant is considered a weed of the worst kind by gardeners in my area.

Positive imshl12 On Sep 15, 2003, imshl12 from Epsom, NH wrote:

This plant is invasive for those with a small plot of land! Here in New Hampshire USA, it blooms for months! In fact, it even survives several frosts! I highly recommend it for those who have a large area and do not want a lot of upkeep! It takes care of itself and reseeds splendidly!

It grows in both poor soil or good soil I have never watered any of them, never weeded them and they always look great! For ten years they have grown here without protection from the harsh winds on a cliff!

Neutral Terry On May 30, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Starting in mid spring, flowers appear on thin stalks. Lavender and bell-shaped, with 5 pointed bracts, with the majority of petals on one side of the plant's stalk.

Leaves are narrow, toothed. Lower leaves wider and heart-shaped.

This plant can be invasive; plant where it will not crowd other plants.

Background: A common name for Creeping Bellflower in Europe is Rampion, which comes from the plant's Latin name. Rampion figures prominently in Old World fairy tales.

Rapunzel is named after the flower, and her exile to the tower is a witch's punishment to the girl's father, who stole rampion from her magic garden to help his wife in childbirth. In another story, a maid who digs up a rampion plant discovers a staircase that leads to a magnificent underground palace.

Regional...

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

Anchorage, Alaska
Juneau, Alaska
Denver, Colorado (2 reports)
Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut
Carrollton, Georgia
Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Park City, Illinois
Iowa City, Iowa
Portland, Maine
Halifax, Massachusetts
West Yarmouth, Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts
Detroit, Michigan
Arden Hills, Minnesota
Hibbing, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
St Paul, Minnesota
Helena, Montana
Lincoln, Nebraska
Epsom, New Hampshire
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Brighton, New York
Haviland, Ohio
Chiloquin, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Fullerton, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Arlington, Virginia
Falmouth, Virginia
Merrimac, Virginia
Millwood, Washington
Seattle, Washington (2 reports)
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
West Allis, Wisconsin
Sheridan, Wyoming



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