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Canterbury Bells

Campanula medium

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Campanulaceae (Bellflower)
Life Cycle:
Annual or Biennial
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Gardens, rocky places.

Variable in colour, 5 petals
The very large bell or star-shaped flowers are violet-blue but occasionally pink or white.
The fruit is a capsule which produces seeds that ripen in August and September.
A biennial plant with lance-shaped basal leaves and an erect, leafy stem. The leaves are a maximum of 15cm (6 inches) in length. The stems are bristly-haired. Can be found growing in north west Kent.
Other Names:
Bellflower, Canterbury Bell, Coventry Bells, Coventry Rapes, Cup and Saucer, Fair-in-sight, Gingerbread Bells, Lady's Nightcap, Mariettes, Mercury's Violets, St Thomas's Bell.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Campanula medium, also known as Canterbury bells or bellflower, is a species of flowering plant in the bellflower family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and has been introduced to other parts of the world as a cultivated ornamental plant. The plant is known for its large, bell-shaped flowers that can be blue, purple, or white in color. It grows well in well-drained soil and is often found in gardens, borders, and as a cut flower. Campanula medium is a herbaceous plant that can grow up to 1.5 meters in height. It is commonly cultivated as an ornamental plant and is valued for its attractive flowers and ability to thrive in a variety of conditions. The plant is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Canterbury Bells: A Guide to Campanula medium

Canterbury bells, also known as Campanula medium, are a type of flowering plant that belong to the Campanulaceae family. This plant is native to the Mediterranean region but has become widely cultivated in gardens around the world due to its beautiful, bell-shaped flowers.

The plant grows to an average height of 2-3 feet and has a bushy growth habit. Its leaves are long, narrow and a pale green color, which provides a striking contrast against the plant's vibrant blue, pink or white flowers. Canterbury bells bloom from late spring to early summer, providing a colorful addition to any garden.

Growing Canterbury Bells

Canterbury bells are easy to grow and require very little maintenance. They prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. The plants are also quite hardy and can tolerate a wide range of soil types, as long as the soil is not too wet or poorly drained.

When planting Canterbury bells, it is best to space them out about 18-24 inches apart, so they have enough room to grow. Once established, they do not require much water or fertilizer, but it is a good idea to provide them with some extra watering during periods of drought or extended hot weather.

Pests and Diseases

Canterbury bells are generally resistant to pests and diseases, but there are a few things to watch out for. Slugs and snails can be a problem, especially if the soil is moist, so be sure to keep an eye out for these pests and remove them promptly. Powdery mildew is another potential issue, which can cause the leaves to become covered in a white, powdery substance. To prevent this, avoid planting the plants too closely together, as this can create moist conditions that are ideal for the growth of the mildew.

Propagation of Canterbury Bells

Canterbury bells are easy to propagate and can be grown from seeds or cuttings. To grow from seeds, simply scatter the seeds on the surface of the soil, then cover with a light layer of soil. Water the seeds in well and keep the soil moist until the seedlings have emerged. It's best to sow the seeds in the spring or early summer when temperatures are warm enough to support germination.

To propagate from cuttings, simply cut a stem from the parent plant, remove the lower leaves, and place the cutting in a container of water or a pot filled with moist soil. Make sure the cutting is well rooted before planting it in the garden. Cuttings can be taken from the parent plant at any time of the year, but they root best in the spring or summer when the plant is actively growing.

Uses of Canterbury Bells

In addition to their beauty, Canterbury bells have a number of uses in the garden. They are often grown as border plants, providing a backdrop for other flowers or used to create a cottage garden effect. They can also be used in mixed borders, as a specimen plant, or planted in large drifts for a mass of color.

In addition to their ornamental value, Canterbury bells are also popular in cut flower arrangements. Their long stems and attractive flowers make them ideal for adding to bouquets and floral arrangements. They can be dried and used in dried flower arrangements as well, so you can enjoy their beauty long after they have bloomed.

The History of Canterbury Bells

Canterbury bells have a rich history, dating back to medieval times. They are said to have originated in the region around Canterbury, England, and were used to decorate the gardens of monasteries and the grounds of castles. Over time, they became a popular flower in the gardens of homes and manors across England, and eventually made their way to other parts of the world.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Canterbury bells were widely cultivated in Europe and North America, where they were prized for their beauty and ease of care. During this time, new cultivars were developed, and the plant became a favorite of gardeners, who used it to create beautiful, romantic gardens filled with charming flowers.

Today, Canterbury bells continue to be popular, and are widely available in a range of colors and sizes, making them a great choice for gardeners of all levels of experience. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this plant is sure to delight you with its beauty and charm.

Incorporating Canterbury Bells into Your Garden

Canterbury bells are a versatile plant that can be used in many different ways in the garden. They are perfect for use as a border plant, a specimen plant, or planted in large drifts for a mass of color. They can also be used in mixed borders, and make great companions for other cottage garden favorites like roses, hollyhocks, and delphiniums.

For best results, plant Canterbury bells in a sunny location with well-drained soil. They are also quite adaptable and will grow well in a range of soil types, as long as the soil is not too wet or poorly drained. With proper care, Canterbury bells will bloom reliably each year, providing a beautiful and long-lasting display of color in your garden.

In conclusion, Canterbury bells are a must-have for any gardener looking to add a touch of beauty and charm to their outdoor space. With their ease of care and versatility, they are sure to become a favorite in your garden for many years to come!