What Are Your Three Best Tips For Growing Canterbury Bells?

ponderinstuffJuly 10, 2008

For those of you who know how to grow Canterbury Bells, what are your three best tips for growing them?

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oh I can't wait for the answers


    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 8:20PM
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libbyshome(z9a BC)

There are two Canterbury Bells.
C. medium and C. medium var calycanthema.
The first is a large bell shaped flower and the second is the same large bell in a saucer. These are biennial.
Not to be confused with peachleaf bellflowers.

Grow them the same way as foxgloves. Plant seeds In May or June. I already have some nice rosettes growing. These will flower next year. I can usually keep a single plant going a couple of years even though they are biennials.

1. Plant in the spring and let grow into a rosette.
2. If you are somewhere really cold in winter, ofter a bit of protection.
3. Don't expect a reliable self seeder.

That's what I do.


4. Buy plant starts at the nursery.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 9:14PM
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mine sprawled out in heaps on the ground! ... didn't seem to matter if they were growing in full sun, part sun, or shade ... the deep purple bells were especially pretty ... maybe if i had cut them back ...

for the most part, i found them difficult to even stake ... just too scrawny & tall ... *sigh* ... phyl

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 1:28AM
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What Libby says! I grew them one year; they did not reseed. Somehow, I wasn't impressed enough to do it again.

I grew some Brantwood bellflower this year, single drooping bells, and loved the color. It did require staking (don't like that). I actually sprinkled the seed directly by the plant this time. If it reseeds great, if not, so be it.

I have never had foxgloves reseed either.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 5:21AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Floppy, droppy, needs some sort of staking.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 6:16AM
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sounds like staking these sprawling beauties is the only way to go ... but, really, they don't even respond well to staking ...

has anyone tried to control their tall, weak stems by cutting them back early in the season? ... *if* any reseed next yr. i may try that ... also most of my plants have alot of weak *side* branches ... maybe they should have been eliminated? ...

i really *did* like them ... HOWEVER ... who can enjoy flowers that insist on throwing themselves to the ground!!!


    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 2:04PM
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I bought some at a nursery last year, they flowered this year and they were beautiful!!! I used tomato cages, put them on early summer before they started to get tall. They were so large!!! I'm leaving the spent flowers on a few to save seeds. I'm wondering how long it will take for them to dry so I can plant them?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 4:02PM
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angelcub(Sunset 3b)

I love them but found they don't like too rich of soil. Which is a challenge in my beds since I use lots of composted chicken manure. I have a few I'll be moving to a leaner bed.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 1:34PM
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has anybody tried cutting them back in spring so they don't get sooooo tall?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 5:03PM
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How tall do they get? I was besotted with this flower ( in pictures) when I was just a kid. I threw some seeds out, and never knew why they didn't grow. Many years later I tried them with no luck from small plants. Then I bought a kind of large one in a 4" pot and it grew and bloomed. I was thrilled. It was beautiful. But it didn't grow very tall...maybe 2 1/2 or 3' tall. It had much bigger blooms than I expected though. I wonder if campanulas require a certain kind of soil or nutrient, because I don't have much luck with any of them. I grew my only blooming Canterbury Bells in a pot.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 8:53PM
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HerbLady49(Z6 PA)

I think you get a hardier plant if you direct sow into the garden. I like to sow in the fall after I have done my fall cleanup. Add about 2 inches of a moist soiless medium on the area where you are going to seed and tamp down. This will help to block out any weed seeds from germinating and competing with your seedlings. Mark where you have sown your seed. Canterbury Bell is a Campanula. All Campanula need light to germinate. Do not cover seed or mulch over the area. This is why it's important to mark the spot, so you don't forget and mulch in the spring. I'm in Central Bucks, PA and my seed will start to germinate sometime in May. Seeds are extremely tiny. Sow heavy and don't thin out seedlings. You'll have enough time to divide and move once the plant gets established.

In the past I would grow many varieties of Campanula for retail sales. I would start them in a greenhouse in December. Campanula can be tricky to grow inside, because they have a tendency to damp off, which you will not have if you grow outside. The "Winter Sowing Forum" has a wealth of information.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 11:22AM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

I'm happy to see this post, as I have a tray of canterbury bell seeds that are just today sprouting under lights in my basement. I think this is usually the time I start sweet Williams or foxgloves for next year, but maybe I'm a little late for starting canterbury bells? Are they especially slow-growing? If I'm way too late, maybe I should just forget it until next year.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 8:27PM
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After my Canterbury Bells bloom, will they come back next year? Or do biennials behave differently? Do they die after they have bloomed and the only thing that comes back are seeds that may have self-sown??

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 8:40PM
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I've got my third season of foxgloves and my first canterberys bells in bloom this year, they are unbelievable. Even more spectacular then'd hoped.

I can't figure out why only about half the plants flowered. I grew all of them exactly the same way. Started early summer from seed a year prior to blooming, left outside over the winter. Does anyone know why this is.

I have found over my years of trying to grow this plan... 1) they will not bloom if they are not left outside for the winter (they just grow into very health looking weedy things) 2) do need to be staked to keep the many flowers up (they will seek out sun and plants in partial shade are more likely to have weaker, bent, kinked or crooked stalks) .. 3) at the end of the summer cut the stalk off and lay it on the ground where you want it to seed for the following year ... LOTS of them will come up, they look a bit like weeds so remember where they are and don't pull them... 4) if the plants don't get enough water in the fall on (their first year) you could lose them over the winter... last fall in Chicago we had a very dry September & October and I lost most of my foxgloves and many of my canterberrys bells.

Has anyone experimented with forcing the first year plants in a refrigeration to get them to bloom after having a long indoor winter to grow strong?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 10:40PM
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My Canterbury Bells bloomed for the first time this year. I'd forgotten what I planted in that spot and had a wonderful surprise. They were gorgeous. Planted from purchased seed, but I will save some seeds to see if I can grow more. They lasted extremely well as cut flowers. However, I didn't know how tall they would grow, so I didn't stake them in time. Next year I'm doing the UPSIDE DOWN tomato cage support as it worked so well for my dahlias this year. Photos and instructions here if interested: http://www.dahlias.net/dahwebpg/Support/NoStake.htm

Question now is, do I just cut back the stems that have bloomed or do I pull out the entire plant? I've never grown bi-annuals before. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 5:50PM
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I direct seed cant. bells,pansies & foxglove in early July-keep damp-thin/ transplant Sept. Mulch with straw for winter.Move to main flower garden early spring or leave for flowers

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:22AM
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