How to Care for Campanula medium (Canterbury Bells)

Campanula medium plants are also known as the Canterbury Bells and Glass Flower (Persian name Gol-e-Istakhani translated into English), is a biennial flowering plant from the Campanulaceae family. Canterbury Bells are native to Europe, they are also one of the most popular ornamental plant species in Europe as well. Their small size, beautiful flowers, and easy to grow nature makes them a perfect fit for your indoor decorations.

If you love the green leaves and blue flowers, the Canterbury Bells are a perfect choice for your taste. Most of the Canterbury Bells varieties have blue flowers that are shaped like bells. The Canterbury Bells plants can grow up to 34 inches in height if the conditions are favorable. Most of the plants can only get a height of 26 inches. Most of their varieties are annual, and only some are biennials (only if the conditions are favorable).

They have dark green leaves in rosettes and an erect stem. Flowers grow on the branches that extend from the central stem. The Canterbury Bells stem and branches have a reddish-brown color. The Leaves of the Canterbury Bells are mostly 4 inches long and one inch wide. Upper leaves are slightly different from the basal leaves of the Canterbury Bells plants.

The Canterbury Bells have a long-lasting bloom that lasts for the whole season. The bell-shaped flowers of the Canterbury Bells plants have a pleasant smell. The color of these flowers is mostly blue, violet-blue, and sometimes white. After the bloom season, flowers turn into seed pods. Their natural habitat is rocky and sloppy and they prefer growing at a low altitude rocky mountain.  

The major use of the Canterbury Bells plants is the use of their flowers in the ornamental arrangements of the flowers. They are also grown by the beekeepers as the bees’ extract nectar from these flowers and then convert it into the sweet honey. The whole Canterbury Bells plant is also used for ornamental purposes. People like to grow them in their gardens, landscapes, and indoor for beautification.  

Varieties of the Canterbury Bells plants:

There are many varieties and cultivars of the Canterbury Bells plant. Below are the details of a few important varieties:

Alba: This is a variety of the Canterbury Bells known as Campanula medium Alba. The plants of this variety have similar properties like other varieties, the only difference is in the color of the flowers. The flowers of this variety have a white color.

Bells of Holland: As the name suggests, they are native to Holland. They are also one of the most grown ornamental plant species of Holland as well. The Bells of Holland can grow up to 25 inches tall. They have lush green leaves and purple to blue flowers.

Champion Blue (dark flowers): Champion Blue is an exotic Campanula medium variety. The flower color of the Champion Blue variety is dark blue instead of violet-blue. They are one of the most grown varieties of all Canterbury Bells. The reason behind their popularity is the exotic color of their flowers.

Champion lavender (light purple flowers): Champion Lavender is a variety of Canterbury Bells plants. They have light purple flowers and lush green leaves. They are a biennial variety, in the first year, they do not grow flowers, while in the second year, they grow light purple flowers during the blooming season.

Champion Pink (pink flowers): As their name suggests, they have pink flowers that are in the shape of perfect bells. They hang with the branches and create an amazing combination of pink flowers and lush green leaves. This is also a biennial flowering variety; you will be able to see the flowers during the late spring.

Chelsea Pink (pink flowers): Chelsea Pink is also a pink colored variety of the Canterbury Bells, the difference between the Champion pink and Chelsea Pink is in their origin. Chelsea Pink is native to Chelsea. Also, the pink color of Chelsea Pink gives different shades. 

Apart from these, many other small varieties are grown in different parts of the world.

Growing Conditions and Requirements

They prefer a rocky, sloppy, and slightly mountainous habitat. They need full sun during the early morning while they need protection from the hotness of sun during the midday. They prefer growing in the slightly cold temperatures. They need soil that is very well-draining and allows the water to quickly drain out. If you are looking forward to growing them in a very hot or a very cold place, then you will have to keep them indoors to protect them from the harsh impacts of weather and temperature.

Below are the details about the growing conditions and requirements:

Water Requirements

Canterbury Bells show fast growth when they are properly watered. They also retain their flowers for the long term if they are being watered according to their needs. Canterbury Bells need frequent watering in the early days while once the plant settles itself in the soil, they need less frequent watering. Below are the details about watering Canterbury Bells. 

●     Watering starts as soon as you sow the seeds, you need to water them right after sowing the seeds. After that keep watering them once every 2 days and do not let the soil dry. Keeping the soil moist and damp will help the seeds germinate.

●     Once the seeds germinate and seedlings appear above the ground, you can change the watering to once every three days. Keep watering them once every three days for the first 3 to 4 months.

●     After that, you can start keeping them dry sometimes. You can water them once every week. You can also look for the soil and check if the upper layer is dry or not. If the upper layer of the soil is dry then you can water them otherwise wait and let it slightly dry.

●     As with age, the plant matures and its root creates a network below the soil to fetch water from deep down. Once the plant reaches this stage you can water them based on the situations.

●     Situations include the hotness, season, weather, and sunlight. If the plant is grown in an extremely hot environment, or moderately hot environment, they will need more water and more frequent watering.

●     If the plants are planted in a cool area, or if there is a winter season, you can water them less frequently. As in cold areas and during the winter, the soil of the plant retains some water and it takes more time to dry.

While watering the Canterbury Bells make sure that you do not pour the water on the stem, flowers, and leaves, this can create wetness and attract the fungi, and other pests. Avoid overwatering and drought by creating a schedule and following it. You can create a schedule based on your location, season, temperature, and other related factors.

Lighting Requirements

The Canterbury Bells plants thrive in full sun to partial shade environments. They need full bright sun in the early morning but during the hottest time of the day, they prefer a slight shade. The sunlight during midday can burn the leaves, make the flower wilt, and cause the soil to evaporate and quickly become dry.

You should grow them in a place where they get both, full sunlight and partial shade. If you are growing them outdoors, you must grow them under the shade of a tall tree, but make sure that the tree is not blocking the sunlight all the time.

If you are looking forward to growing them indoors, you must keep them in a bright place. You can place them in a window that is facing east. If they are not receiving the required amount of light, they will not grow properly. It is best to keep them in a partially shady place, where they receive direct or indirect light for almost 5 to 6 hours a day.

Temperature Requirements

Canterbury Bells plant prefers a slightly cold environment to grow. They thrive when the temperature is between -5 C to 10 C. You can also grow them in extremely cold areas where temperatures during the winter can go below zero degrees. If you are looking forward to growing them in cold regions, then you might have to keep them indoors to protect them from the frost and they are not frost-tolerant.

If you are looking forward to growing them in areas where temperatures can go above 25 C. you will also have to keep them indoors and protect them from the extreme hotness during the summer. They can adjust themself according to different temperatures but if they are suddenly exposed to the extreme temperatures, they might not survive the change.

Soil Requirements

The Canterbury Bells thrive in well-draining soil. A soil that is porous and allows the excess water to quickly drain. Both sandy and loamy soils can be used to grow the Canterbury Bells. The pH of the soil can be slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. They also grow very well in neutral soil.

This type of porous soil mostly consists of cocopeat, sand, compost, garden soil, perlite, pumice, rocks, and plant fertilizers. These components make the soil porous and also provide nutrition for the initial growth of the plants. Mulch can also be added to protect the soil from completely drying out during the hot days. 

Fertilizer Requirements

Fertilizing the Canterbury Bells helps them grow faster and thrive. It also helps them retain their flowers for the long term. After being planted in soil, the Canterbury Bells extract all the nutrients from the soil and consume, this creates a nutrient deficiency that is fulfilled with the help of fertilizers.

how to fertilize the Canterbury Bells?

Use the three methods mentioned below to fertilize your Canterbury Bells:

●     In the first method, you mix the fertilizer with the planting soil before planting. It requires spreading and mixing the fertilizer with the potting soil. After planting them, you can water them so that fertilizer can dissolve and become available to the plants.

●     In the second method, you spread the fertilizers directly in the soil.  This is used when the plants have gained a significant height. You can spread the fertilizer in the soil around the stem and then give it some water.

●     The Third method involves creating a mixture of fertilizer and water and then feeding this mixture during the watering. You can feed this mixture to your plants once every month.

Before fertilizing your plants, get a soil test to identify the nutrient deficiencies. This test will help you use the fertilizers efficiently. Use the fertilizers according to the guidelines that are given with the fertilizer pack.

Pruning Requirements

The Canterbury Bells plants are biennials and they do not need an extended pruning. You can occasionally prune them when you feel that they are getting out of shape or after the flowers fade away.

You can prune them by cutting the excessive parts or out of shaped parts, you can also remove the dead or diseased parts. Remove all the flowers if you are not looking forward to collecting the seeds. Prune them after the spring season.

Repotting Requirements

If you have planted them in a very small pot then you might have to re-pot them as they can get a significant height. Mostly they are re-potted during the spring. Repotting the Canterbury Bells helps them grow more branches and flowers.

To re-pot the Canterbury Bells plants you need a slightly bigger pot then it is already in. Fill the new pot with the required soil. After preparing the pot, uproot the Canterbury Bells and carefully transfer them into the new pot. While transferring try not to damage any roots of the Canterbury Bells. After repotting them, give them some water and keep them in a bright place.

Common Diseases and Pests Control

Canterbury Bells plants are affected by the different variables that can cause problems and also attract different diseases. The most common problems and their solutions are given below.

Root Rot: This is a very common problem seen among the Canterbury Bells. It can lead them to death. The major reason behind this is that the soil is trapping some water. This water causes the roots to rot. You can prevent this by choosing a well-draining soil, and also regulating the watering according to the schedule.

Common pests (aphids, mites, slugs, snails, powdery mildew, and rust): These common pests also attack the different parts of the Canterbury Bells. You can prevent their attack and control their population by spraying appropriate chemical spray.

Some other problems that your Canterbury Bells might face include the discoloration of flowers, sudden death of the plants, change in leaf color, and flower color. These conditions are mostly caused due to improper watering, poor soil, and improper administration of fertilizers. You can treat these conditions by properly following the guidelines related to watering, fertilizing, and soil.

How to Plant

The Canterbury Bells plants are grown with the help of their seeds. These seeds form after the spring season and are collected during the august mostly. These seeds are placed in the soil and covered with a very thin layer of soil.

After sowing the seeds, give them some water and wait for them to sprout. Keep watering them and provide them a slightly warm environment. Once the seeds germinate, and seedlings appear you can take care of them like a regular plant.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: What is the symbolism of Canterbury Bells?

Answer: The Canterbury Bells flowers symbolize and represent the feelings of gratitude, faith, and constancy. The flowers are presented to the people when you want to show these feelings towards them.

Question: Is Canterbury Bells perennial?

Answer: Yes, if the conditions are favorable for their growth, they can be perennials. Mostly they are referred to as annuals and biennials but in certain conditions and the favorable environment, they can live longer.

Question: How to deadhead the Canterbury Bells?

Answer: You can deadhead the Canterbury Bells by removing the dead flowers. This is a type of pruning for Canterbury Bells. This is mostly done to encourage the growth of new leaves and flowers. It also helps you collect some seeds for the upcoming season.