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Growing Canterbury Bells (Bellflowers)

Category Annuals
While classified as an annual, these pretty flowers are best grown as a biennial. Sow seeds in summer, cut foliage back and mulch, in cold areas, for the winter and they will bloom the second season. This is a guide about growing Canterbury bells (bellflowers).
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February 21, 2006
Botanical Name: Campanula media
Life Cycle: annual (biennial)
Planting Time: spring or summer
Height: 2' to 4'
Exposure: full sun, afternoon shade in warmer zones
Soil: rich, well-drained soil
Hardiness: zones 4 to 10; best where summer temperatures fall below 70ºF at night and should be mulched over-winter in areas with harsh winters
Bloom Time: summer
Flower: white, pinks, blue and lavender bell-shaped flowers
Foliage: green
Propagation: seeds
Suggested Use: beds, borders, cut flowers or large plantings
Growing Hints: Canterbury bells do best if you treat them like biennials. To do this, sow seeds outdoors in bed or pots in early summer. The leaves will grow but they will not flower the first year. In the fall, cover them for the winter (they are hardy in zones 5 to 8). The following spring, move them to the location in the garden you want them to bloom. After the height of the main flowering, snip off spent flowers and stems just above the leaves and apply a 5-10-5 fertilizer to encourage a second round of flowers.
Interesting Facts: Bellflowers come in many varieties-from ground covers as low as 3 inches and upright varieties as tall as 5 feet. They are virtually problem-free, but do need evenly consistently moist (not wet) soil.
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