The Bluebells also known by the simple name of bells, they are graceful herbaceous plants grown for ornamental purposes in gardens, on walls and also on terraces.
Characteristics of bluebells
The Bluebells they are dicotyledonous spermatophyte plants belonging to the Campanulaceae family, annual or perennial depending on the variety, with stems varying in length from a few cm in dwarf species to almost 60 cm in ground cover or climbing plants.
The leaves, green in color, they are lanceolate or rounded.
THE flowers bell-shaped facing downwards, they come in different shades of color depending on the cultivar, from pale pink to intense blue.
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Flowering of the bells
The bluebells bloom from May to August depending on the variety.
Cultivation of bluebells
Bluebells can be grown in the ground and easily even in pots, especially if they are small varieties.
They are plants that suffer from direct sunlight and are therefore perfect for growing in semi-shady places, under tall trees or close to fence hedges.
They love loose soils, rich in organic matter, moist and well drained. If grown in very compact soil the roots suffer to the point of death.
They are plants that prefer moist soil and therefore should be regularly irrigated especially in drought periods and in the summer months.
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To produce copious and prolonged blooms the bluebells must be fertilized at least once a month, from March to September, with a specific liquid fertilizer for flowering plants diluted in the watering water. Alternatively, use a slow release granular fertilizer, to be spread around the plants every 3-4 months. Using a fertilizer that is richer in potassium (K) and low in nitrogen (N) will stimulate greater flower production.
Multiplication of bluebells
The bluebells reproduce by seed but new specimens identical to the original ones can be obtained vegetatively, by cutting.
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The sowing is done in the month of August.
- The sowing soil must consist of three parts of fertile soil and one part of coarse sand.
- The seeds must be made to adhere well to the soil which must always be kept moist until germination.
- The container should be placed in a shaded area with a temperature not lower than 15 ° C.
- You cover the tray with a clear plastic sheet.
- After germination, after about 3 months, the plastic sheet is removed and the container moved to a brighter and well-ventilated place.
- When the plants are large enough they should be transplanted in the ground or in single pots and treated as adult plants.
Multiplication by cuttings
It is practiced at the beginning of spring by taking apical cuttings, about 10 cm long, with well-sharpened and disinfected shears, which must be buried in a soil composed of peat and coarse sand, kept constantly humid until the appearance of new shoots.
The container is covered with a transparent plastic sheet and placed in a shady place at about 15 degrees.
When the first shoots appear, it means that the cuttings have rooted and the container must be moved to a bright area in order to encourage the growth of the new seedlings.
When the plants are easy to handle, they are transplanted into the final pot or into the garden.
Variety of bells
There are many varieties of bluebells that differ in bearing, color of the flowers and above all in size, in fact, some are dwarf others exceed 60 cm in height.
A herbaceous plant that does not exceed 15 cm in height. It is an evergreen ground cover perennial that forms thick green cushions in full vegetative vigor. In summer, from June to August, it produces numerous blue bell-shaped flowers. It is perfect as a ground cover and suitable for growing both in sunny areas and in partial shade, in fresh and well-drained soils. It should be topped often and watered regularly, especially in the summer months.
Also known as Carpathian Campanula, it is a small perennial herbaceous plant with a compact habit. It forms thick bushes 15 cm high and 40 cm wide, with stems rich in triangular leaves with wavy edges. In summer it produces bell-shaped flowers in shades of white or blue-lilac. It is suitable for growing in pots, in borders or in rock gardens. It reproduces by seed and is to be pruned at the end of winter to stimulate the emission of new shoots. The fragrant and slightly sweet flowers are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked, in salads. The leaves are also edible but a little chewy when eaten raw.
A perennial and evergreen variety, on average about 80 cm tall. It has an upright habit with stems covered with rich glossy green foliage. The leaf blade is glabrous, with an elliptical-lanceolate shape with serrated edges. From June to August, it bears large, well-open, light blue bell-shaped flowers. The Alba variety, on the other hand, produces beautiful white bells. It should be grown in the sun in normal but not too dry soil. Campanula persicifolia is ideal for flower beds.
Also known as Campanula grandiflora this species is grown in pots and in the ground as an annual or perennial. It has stems up to 50-70 cm tall covered with toothed leaves. In summer it produces large bell-shaped flowers that are lilac, purple or white in color.
Campanula Portens or portenschlagiana, an easy variety to grow on balconies, windows, terraces and gardens. It is a species native to Europe, very widespread as spontaneous also in Italy and widely cultivated with great ease, both in the garden and in the apartment. It is an ideal flowering plant for creating flower beds and borders in any type of garden, suitable for any type of soil, although it is advisable to use the fertile one, enriched with fresh sand and peat and rich in nutrients, in order to guarantee the flowers lush growth. Portenschlagian bluebells must be fertilized from spring to summer, using a liquid fertilizer, containing phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, which must be added to the water before irrigating.
This gorgeous plant produces beautiful blooms from May to September. The solitary flowers or gathered in inflorescences are bell-shaped and of a blue-violet color, or white or pink.
The Campanella or Campanula poscharskyana is a rustic and robust species with a ground cover or drooping habit. It forms large green carpets with large lavender blue starry flowers that bloom numerous from May to August. It is of great effect in borders, flower beds, walls exposed to full sun. The plants must be planted at a distance of 40 cm.
Diseases and parasites of bells
Bluebells are plants very resistant to attacks by common animal parasites and only in case of heavy rains are they infested by aphids that colonize even the blossoming flowers. Among the cryptogamic or fungal diseases, they fear root rot if the soil is not draining or the water is allowed to stagnate in the saucers.
Topping the flowers to favor the emission of new ones and to defend against predators such as snails.
Bluebells and the language of flowers
In the jargon of the flowers, bluebells or bells symbolize hope or perseverance.
Are bluebells poisonous?
Some species are toxic to both humans and domestic animals such as dogs and cats due to the presence of atropine, hyoscamion, iscine or scopolamine, alkaloids.
Others, on the other hand, are even edible such as Campanula rapunculus or raperonzolo, a species cultivated as an ornamental, as a medicinal plant and above all as an edible vegetable.
Properties of the bellflower
Many species of bluebells and bells are not only appreciated as ornamental plants of unquestionable beauty but also considered useful for medicinal purposes due to their numerous beneficial properties for health. In fact, many have properties: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, refreshing, purifying, diuretic, laxative, etc., as they are rich in important minerals, vitamin C and above all inulin.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the leaves and flowers of the bellflower are exploited as a natural remedy to make rinses useful as disinfectants of the oral cavity: it is sufficient to prepare an infusion, using both flowers and leaves. Furthermore, the bellflower infusion can also be used as a digestive or as a laxative and diuretic.
The name Campanula which means small bell refers to the shape of the flower.