Bellflowers (Campanula spp.) are a family of annual, biennial and perennial plants, found naturally occurring in many countries of the northern hemisphere and South Africa. Campanulas vary in size and habit of growth, but those found locally are generally low-growing ground cover plants featuring lavender-white to purple bell-shaped flowers borne singly or more often in inflorescences. Petals, sepals and stamens are normally in fives with the petals either partially or completely fused. The leaves are alternate, rarely opposite, and simple. The blue color is attractive to bees, though other insects may visit the flowers, and some red-flowered species may be visited by birds or butterflies.
The genus includes nearly 300 species, from dainty 6" miniatures to tall three foot uprights, preferring filtered sun in the Central Valley. Campanulas grow almost everywhere on earth except the Sahara, Antarctica, and northern Greenland. An evergreen perennial in Davis, bellflowers begin their show around mid- to late-spring. Native populations of tiny bellflowers can be found locally around vernal pools, with most of these species attaining only a few inches of height. Garden varieties found in local nurseries should be planted in average to moist, well-drained soil and can be propagated easily by division. Pruning faded blooms will encourage a longer flowering period, and once seed pods are allowed to form flowering will cease.
To learn more about plants found growing in Davis, visit our Town Flora.