Campanula persicifolia alba is an old-fashioned cottage garden flower of great charm. From late spring to early summer the tall stems of wide-open bell flowers appear regularly. The pure white flowers are held above the mound of leaves on tall, straight stems, making them ideal for cut flowers. Its foliage is narrow and glossy with a bright green appearance
Earlier flowering than many other varieties, the charming flower spikes are good for cutting if you can bear to do without them in the garden. Planted en masse, this is an attractive variety to associate with many old-fashioned varieties.
Sowing: Sow in either late winter/late spring or late summer/autumn.
Sow either in September to October before the coldest part of the year or in February to April and plant 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. Place in a position which receives diffused light.
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 30cm (12in) apart
The ideal situation is in partial shade or sun, in fertile, neutral to alkaline soil that is moist but well-drained.
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 (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted compost around the base of the plant in spring and keep them well watered.
In exposed areas, stake with bamboo canes or brushwood in spring before the flowers appear.
Deadhead to prolong flowering. C. persicifolia 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 or Under-planting roses and shrubs.
Campanula persicifolia is native to Western Asia and Europe. It is common in the Alps and other mountains in Europe. It grows at lower altitudes in the north, and higher up further south, passing 1500 m in Provence. Its flowers are cup-shaped and can be either lilac-blue or white.
The genus name campanula is derived from the Italian campana meaning 'bell' and refers to the shape of the flowers. The word is from Late Latin around 1630's, 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 persicifolia means ‘with leaves like a peach tree’. Campanula persicifolia is commonly called peach-leaved bellflower because the long narrow leaves resemble those of the peach tree – if only peach trees were so easy to grow!
The word 'alba' refers to the white colour of the flowers. It derives from the Latin word album for a ‘writing tablet’ now used to mean ‘white’ in reference to the tablets historically being white.
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 500 Seeds Family Campanulaceae Genus Campanula Species persicifolia Cultivar alba Common Name White Peach-leaved Bellflower Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Pure White Natural Flower Time Late spring to early summer. Foliage Narrow and glossy with a bright green appearance Height 60 to 90cm (24-36in) Spread 30 to 38cm (12-15in) Position Full sun or partial shade. Soil Well-drained/light, Chalky/alkaline 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).