Factsheet S62: Campanula species
The bellflowers or harebells consist of some 300 species of annual, biennial or perennial herbs, from small dwarfs only a few cm high to large plants of 2m high, originating from the Northern hemisphere.
Within this huge range, there are a group from Alpine regions which are not as easy to cultivate as the hardier perennials; some are happy growing on walls in Britain. Most are hardy to 15 or -20°C, though the Alpine species dislike a combination of winter cold and wet, and are hardy to -15°C or so.
The leaves are alternate and often vary in shape on a single plant, with larger, broader leaves at the base of the stem and smaller, narrower leaves higher up; the leaf margin may be either entire or serrated (sometimes both on the same plant). Many species contain white latex in the leaves and stems. The flowers are produced in panicles (sometimes solitary), and are bell-shaped, typically large (2-5 cm or more long), mostly blue to purple, sometimes white or pink. The fruit is a capsule containing numerous small seeds.