Plant of the Month for August 2012

Campanula betulifolia; photo by Todd Boland
Campanula betulifolia

Description and general information

This bellflower grows among limestone and volcanic rocks and crevices at elevations up to 2300 m. It is found in Armenia, Turkey and the Caucasus.

The plant arises from a thickened root and forms a tuft of decumbent stems up to 20 cm in length. The leaves are deep green, glossy and shaped like those of birch (hence the common name 'birch-leaved bellflower'). From pink-tinted buds open creamy-white flowers up to 3 cm in length. It disappears back to the rootstock in winter. Like so many Campanula, it is prone to slug damage. It is hardy through zone 5.

Cultivation

This bellflower will tolerate full sun to part shade but demands a well-drained site. Too much winter-wet will kill the plant. It is adaptable to variable soil pH levels.

Bloom period

May in the south to July in the north.

Propagation

Seed and cuttings.

Seed

Seed sown at 20 C will germinate within 3 months. Seeds stratified for 8 weeks will also germinate freely. It is also known to self-seed in the garden.

Division

As the plants arise from a thick rootstock, division is not generally practiced.

Cuttings

Young shoots may be taken as cuttings prior to their producing flower buds. They generally roots in a few weeks.

References

1 Dwarf Campanulas by Graham Nicholls

2 Campanulas, A Gardener's Guide by Peter Lewis and Margaret Lynch

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