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What is Campanula Rotundifolia?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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Campanula rotundifolia is a flowering plant found native in many temperate regions in the northern hemisphere. It is known by a variety of common names including witch's thimble, bluebell, harebell, and bellflower, depending on the region. Some of these common names are also used for entirely different plants and this can generate some confusion; using the scientific name can clarify the identity of the plant under discussion. In addition to being found in the wild, Campanula rotundifolia is also cultivated by gardeners as an ornamental plant.

This plant produces a basal rosette of heart-shaped leaves, and long, very thin stems. The stems carry long, thin leaves and clusters of drooping blue to purple flowers develop at the end of the stems. The flowers have five fused petals and are bell shaped. Typically the basal foliage dies off early in the growing season, leaving the stems exposed, and the flowers can straggle on into the fall in warm climates.

Campanula rotundifolia has adapted to very poor soil conditions and thrives in dry, crumbly soil with minimal nutrients, although it will also grow in rich soils. It can grow in full sun to part shade and can be successfully cultivated as a perennial in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) zones three through nine. The plants spread by reseeding and through the production of shoots. In some regions, it can actually become invasive, producing a tangled mat of roots and posing a challenge to people attempting to eradicate it.

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The stems are so long and so fine that the plants sometimes fall over under the weight of the flowers. The small size and delicate structure of Campanula rotundifolia means that it must be placed with care in the garden to be visible. If it is planted with large, showy plants, it can be overwhelmed. Massed plantings are often suitable, and it can be paired with other delicate, small plants in the front of a flowerbed to ensure it can be seen.

In addition to being used in the garden, Campanula rotundifolia can also be used for cut flowers. It is suitable for wildflower arrangements and can also be displayed on its own in clusters. The flowers can last longer when provided with some cut flower food in the water and kept out of direct light and heat. Campanula rotundifolia can also be pressed, for people interested in collecting pressed, dried flowers.

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