Campanula lactiflora ‘Prichard’s Variety’ is a cottage-garden classic that has long been appreciated for its long bloom time, stately presence and violet-blue colour.
The plants bear large conical clusters of open, star-shaped flowers are produced on branching stems throughout summer. Each plant producing a number of stems. They have an upright habit and crisp, deep green, lance-shaped leaves that provide a lovely backdrop to the handsome blooms.
The rounded clusters of blooms appear from July to October and the plants grow to a height of around 75 to 100cm (30 to 36in), with a spread of around 60cm (24in). They look great when planted in sweeping drifts and combine well with old-fashioned roses at the back of a mixed or herbaceous border.
Plant in sun or partial shade in moist but well-drained fertile soil to encourage plenty of growth and flowers.The flower colour is retained best in partial shade.
Campanula lactiflora ‘Prichard’s Variety’ has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM)
Sowing: Sow indoors January to April or outdoors May to June
If sown early in the year the plants flower late in summer. They can also be sown late in the year, overwintered in frost free conditions and planted out after all danger of frost has passed.
Sow the seeds into cells or pots containing good quality seed compost. Sow finely onto the surface and press lightly into the compost, but do not cover, as light aids germination of seeds. Place in a propagator or cover with a plastic lid and place in a warm place, ideally at 18 to 20°C (65 to 68°F).
Water from the base of the tray, keeping the compost moist but not wet at all times. Germination 14 to 28 days. Once some of the seeds have germinated air should be admitted gradually otherwise the seedlings may suffer damping off.
Once the seedlings have their first pair of true leaves (they come after the seedlings first pair of leaves) and are large enough to handle, Prick out each seedling into 7.5cm (3in) pots to grow on.
Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost has passed into well drained soil. Plant in a position which receives diffused light 30cm (12in) apart.
The ideal situation is in partial shade or sun, in fertile, neutral to alkaline soil that is moist but well-drained.
Campanula lactiflora require excellent drainage. Sandy loam is ideal. If you have heavy soil, consider a raised bed for the campanula or else double dig the planting location, making the new soil as friable as possible. After double digging, you should be able to dig down two feet with just a trowel.
In spite of its height, ‘Pritchard’s Variety’ doesn’t need staking unless planted in a windy area or unless it’s over-fertilised. Go light on the nitrogen, and preferably use a weak, organic, balanced fertiliser. To keep the plant strong and bushy, you can prune it back in early spring. It should also be deadheaded after flowering to prevent self-seeding.
Protect the tender foliage from slugs and deadhead regularly.
Bellflowers like some relief from intense sun and heat a dry summer may reduce or inhibit its flowering. If your garden is in full sun, apply a generous 5 to 7cm (2 to 3in) mulch of well-rotted compost around the base of the plant in spring and keep them well watered.
C. lactiflora will self seed if not deadheaded, but are not a nuisance like some campanulas. They are easily curtailed after blooming as the blossoms are long gone before seed is set.
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower Arranging, Flowers Borders and Beds.
Campanula lactiflora grows naturally in the temperate climates of Iran, Turkey and the Caucasus area. The Caucasus includes countries like Armenia, Georgia and Russia.
It is a species of flowering plant in the genus Campanula of the family Campanulaceae.
The genus name Campanula is from the Italian campana meaning 'bell' and refers to the shape of the flowers. The word is from around 1630's, from Late Latin,campana, originally meant 'a metal vessel made in Campania', the region around Naples. All Campanulas have bell-shaped flowers, although the flower forms vary considerably.
The species name lactiflora is from lacta which is Latin for 'milk', and refers referring to the milky sap in the stems.
It has the common name of the Milky Bellflower.
In scholarly papers Campanula lactiflora is now Gadelia lactiflora, but it hasn't trickled down to nurseries yet, and often the taxonomists debate for a while, so it's often easiest to wait for a while to be sure that they won't be changing their minds again.
Another species has a very similar name, however the plants are very distinct, so are not easily mistaken for each other. Campanula latifolia, the Large Flowered Bellflower is distinguishable from its relative with its very large blooms, it is also about half the height of a mature plant of Campanula lactiflora, the Milky Bellflower.
The National Collection:
In the UK the National Collection of Campanulas is held at Burton Agnes Hall in East Yorkshire and the National Collection of Alpine Campanulas at Langham Hall in Suffolk.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 50mg Average Seed Count 400 Seeds Family Campanulaceae Genus Campanula Species lactiflora Cultivar Prichard’s Variety Synonym Gadelia lactiflora Common Name Milky Bellflower. Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Violet-blue, open bell-shaped flowers Natural Flower Time July to October Foliage Deep green, lance-shaped leaves Height 75 to 100cm (30 to 36in) Spread 60cm (24in) Position Full sun or partial shade. Soil Easily grown in any fertile soil Time to Sow Late winter/late spring or late summer/autumn. Germination 14 to 28 days at 18 to 20°C (65 to 68°F).