How to grow Canterbury Bells

The Canterbury Bells flower (Campanula medium) is a beautiful addition to any garden

How to grow Canterbury Bells

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The Canterbury Bells flower (Campanula medium) is a beautiful addition to any garden. With its bell-shaped blooms and vibrant colors, it adds a touch of elegance and charm. In this article, we will guide you through the process of planting, caring for, and propagating Canterbury Bells.

Planting Canterbury Bells

When it comes to planting Canterbury Bells, there are a few key factors to consider. These include choosing the right location, preparing the soil, and deciding whether to start with seeds or seedlings.

Choosing the Right Location

Canterbury Bells thrive in areas with full or partial sun. They prefer a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Ensure that the chosen spot has well-draining soil, as waterlogged soil can lead to root rot.

Soil Preparation

Before planting Canterbury Bells, it is important to prepare the soil properly. The ideal soil pH for these flowers is between 6.0 and 7.0. Ensure that the soil is loose, well-draining, and rich in organic matter. Amend the soil with compost or aged manure to improve its fertility and drainage.

Seeds vs. Seedlings

When it comes to starting Canterbury Bells, you have the option of using either seeds or seedlings. Seeds are a cost-effective choice and allow you to grow a large number of plants. However, they require more time and patience. Seedlings, on the other hand, provide a head start and bloom earlier.

Sowing Canterbury Bells Seeds

If you choose to grow from seeds, start them indoors about eight to ten weeks before the last frost date. Sow the seeds on the soil surface and lightly press them down. Keep the soil consistently moist and provide a warm environment for germination, ideally around 70°F (21°C).

Caring for Canterbury Bells Seedlings

Once the seedlings emerge, provide them with bright light to prevent them from becoming leggy. Maintain a temperature range of 60-65°F (15-18°C). Water the seedlings regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist. Be careful not to overwater, as excessive moisture can lead to fungal diseases.

Transplanting Canterbury Bells

When the danger of frost has passed, and the seedlings have developed their first true leaves, they can be transplanted outdoors. Choose a cloudy day or evening to lessen transplant shock. Space the plants 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart to allow for proper air circulation.

Watering and Moisture Requirements

Canterbury Bells require regular watering to establish strong roots. Water them deeply once a week, providing about an inch (2.5 cm) of water. During drier periods or heatwaves, you may need to increase the frequency of watering. Monitor the moisture levels in the soil, avoiding both waterlogging and drought stress.

Fertilizing Canterbury Bells

During the growing season, Canterbury Bells benefit from regular feeding. Apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every three to four weeks. Alternatively, you can incorporate slow-release granular fertilizer into the soil during planting. Ensure you follow the package instructions for the appropriate dosage.

Dealing with Pests and Diseases

While Canterbury Bells are generally resistant to pests and diseases, they may occasionally encounter issues. Keep an eye out for snails, slugs, aphids, and powdery mildew. Use organic pest control methods or insecticidal soaps to manage these issues if they arise.

Supporting Canterbury Bells

As Canterbury Bells grow, their tall flower stalks may require support to prevent bending or breaking. Use stakes, cages, or trellises to support the plants, especially in areas prone to strong winds. Secure the stems loosely to avoid damaging them.

Pruning and Deadheading

To encourage continuous blooming and maintain a tidy appearance, deadhead spent flowers regularly. This practice prevents seed production and redirects the plant's energy towards new growth and flower production. In late fall or early spring, after the blooming season, trim back the entire plant to encourage fresh growth.

Propagating Canterbury Bells

If you want to propagate Canterbury Bells, you can collect seeds from mature plants in late summer. Allow the seed pods to dry and turn brown before harvesting. Sow the seeds in the desired location or store them in a cool, dry place for future use.

Overwintering Canterbury Bells

Canterbury Bells are biennials, meaning they complete their life cycle in two years. In the first year, they grow foliage, and in the second year, they produce flowers. To overwinter Canterbury Bells, apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plants to protect the roots from freezing temperatures.

Common Varieties of Canterbury Bells

There are several popular varieties of Canterbury Bells, each with its unique color and charm. Some common varieties include 'Champion Pink', 'Cup and Saucer', 'Double Blue', and 'Calycanthema'.

Potential Companion Plants

When planning your garden, consider pairing Canterbury Bells with compatible companion plants. Good choices include roses, lavender, delphiniums, hollyhocks, and lupines. These plants complement Canterbury Bells and create a visually appealing garden display.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can Canterbury Bells grow in containers?
A: Yes, Canterbury Bells can be grown in containers as long as the containers are large enough to accommodate their root systems and provide proper drainage.

Q: How long do Canterbury Bells bloom?
A: Canterbury Bells typically bloom for about four to six weeks in late spring or early summer.

Q: Can I cut and display Canterbury Bells indoors?
A: Yes, Canterbury Bells make lovely cut flowers. Cut the stems early in the morning and place them in a vase with fresh water. Change the water every few days to prolong their vase life.


By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully grow Canterbury Bells and enjoy their stunning blooms in your garden. With the proper care, these beautiful flowers will bring color and vibrancy to your outdoor space year after year.

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