Campanula Muralis, One Of Many Species Of Bellflower
Campanula muralis is one of nearly 300 different species of Campanula, with most of these species best known as Bellflowers. The 300 or so species are made up of perennials, biennials, and annuals, with the large majority fitting into the class of perennials. Hardy in most USDA defined growing zones, the plants feature bell shaped or star-shaped flowers in a variety of colors. Blue, purple, lavender, pink or white and shades in between account for most of the color types.
Most of the plants in the Campanula family feature a rosette of basal leaves from which a number of stems appear which carry the blossoms. Plant heights vary from the giant sizes, such as Campanula pyramidalis, better known as the Chimney Bellflower, which can reach a height of 10', to the dwarf varieties, many of which are less than a foot high.
The Dalmatian Bellflower - Campanula muralis is one of these dwarf varieties. Perhaps better known as C. portenaschagiana, the Dalmatian Bellflower, C. muralis' leaves form a low rounded mass 4" to 7" high. The somewhat heart-shaped deep green leaves are deeply toothed with slightly wavy edges. The plant has flaring, inch long bell-shaped flowers, violet-blue in color, with 2 or 3 blossoms forming on each arching stem. The flowers bloom from May into august and sometimes bloom again in the fall. The flowers are long lasting and, due to the height of the plant and its spreading nature, Campanula muralis makes an excellent border plant. While it spreads moderately fast, it is not considered invasive.
Culture and Care - The Dalmatian Bellflower is a perennial and is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 7. It grows best in soil having a pH between 4.5 and 7.5 and which may vary from sandy to a clay loam. It can be planted in full sun or areas of partial shade, the latter being preferable in locations experiencing a great deal of very hot summer sun. Its watering requirements are average. It can be sown from seed, but is often propagated by division. The Dalmatian Bellflower, like most garden plants will perform at its best when given an adequate amount of fertilizer. If a slow release fertilizer is worked into the ground in the spring, that is generally all that will be necessary for the year. Water soluble fertilizers may have to be applied once every couple of weeks during the growing season. Organic fertilizers should be applied in accordance with the directions on the bottle or package.
Other Dwarf Or Smaller Species - There are several other dwarf species of Campanula which also are worth looking into. C. elantines garcanica usually does not exceed 6" in height, and sometimes grows only to a height of 3" It has star-shaped, violet-blue blossoms, and blooms from June into the autumn. C. barbata will grow anywhere from 4" to 18" high, and has bell-shaped, lilac-blue flowers. It is a short lived perennial, often grown as a biennial. The Bluebell of Scotland, C. rotundifoia, which is a favorite of many, grows to a height of between 6" and 12", but on occasion may grow as high as 20". It has broad bell-shaped bright blue blossoms, 1" across, growing in open clusters, and blooms in July and August.
Whether you choose Campanula muralis or one of the other 300 or so related species, the Bellflower makes make an attractive addition to the flower garden, the rock garden, or in the case of the Dalmatian Bellflower, border areas and containers. Seeds of this variety are generally readily available, and seedlings are normally not to difficult to find in nurseries in both the spring and in the fall. Plan on a having a few of these beautiful plants in your garden the coming growing season.