Bellflowers are named for the distinctive shape and are part of the family campanula which has its roots in the Latin, campana or "bell."
Popular varieties seen in rock gardens and along flower edgings are the Harebell
and perhaps most notably, the Canterbury Bell with its associations dating back to Chaucer and medieval times.
Complementing their delicate form are the many varieties of bellflower colors - ringing out in vivid blue, violet, pink, rose, gold or white. With more than 300 different species available -- as annuals, biennials (taking two years to bloom) or perennials - bellflower growth behavior ranges from low and spreading to some that may grow to almost 8-feet tall!
Bellflowers prefer well-drained soil and, for most varieties, a partly shady spot in the garden will usually do. Plants can easily be set out in containers in spring and planted about a foot apart. If planting creeping varieties, be sure to leave plenty of room aboveground for plants to spread.
Blooms begin in mid-summer and last until the first light frosts of autumn. They do best in cooler weather with low humidity, and under these ideal conditions expect the flowers to last a long time.
Bellflower fun facts
• Taller varieties of blue bellflowers are known to attract hummingbirds to the home garden.
• Bellflowers grow wild in wooded areas in the UK, Scotland, and now North America. Creeping bellflower is considered a weed in some parts of the US for its habit of creeping beyond garden walls to take over golf courses, lawns, and city parks.
• In medieval times, the harebell got its name for the belief that it was named by witches who could transform into hares. In Scotland, the harebell is still sometimes known as "witches thimble".