Campanula rotundifolia 'Olympica'
Common Name: bluebell
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Campanulaceae
Zone: 3 to 6
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants prefer cool summer climates. They are intolerant of the extreme heat of the deep South, and do not perform well south of USDA Zone 6. They appreciate part afternoon shade in hot summer climates including Missouri. Plants typically need regular and even moisture. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom. Plants are often short-lived, but will easily remain in the garden in optimum growing conditions by self-seeding. Seed may be planted in the garden in late spring for bloom the following year. Plants will spread in the garden by creeping roots. Plants may be propagated by cuttings, but division of mature plants can be difficult.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Campanula rotundifolia, commonly called bluebell or harebell, is a rosette-forming, upright perennial that typically grows to 20" tall. It is noted for producing attractive, bell-shaped, nodding blue flowers (each to 1/2" long) that bloom singly or in small clusters from the stem tips throughout summer (June-September). This bluebell is native to a variety of different environments including meadows, grasslands, rocky slopes, crevices, alpine areas and sandy shores in the northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia. From a basal rosette of small, rounded, long-stalked, basal leaves (to 1" wide) rise wiry, thread-like stems clad with narrow, alternate, linear leaves (each to 1-3" long). Basal leaves usually wither early and disappear before the flowers form. This plant is also native to a small area in the Ozarks in Shannon County where it is found on north-facing limestone bluffs along the Jack's Fork River.

Genus name comes from the Latin campana meaning bell in reference to the bell-shaped flowers.

Specific epithet is in reference to the rounded basal leaves.

This bluebell has a large number of common names. Harebell may relate to the fact that this plant is sometimes found in areas inhabited by rabbits (hares). This same plant grows in Scotland where it is popularly known as the bluebells of Scotland or Scotch bluebell.

'Olympica' is a cultivar that was found growing in the Olympic Mountains in the State of Washington. It is distinguished from the species by producing slightly larger flowers that are deeper blue in color on shorter plants growing to 9-12" tall.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs and snails are occasional visitors. Watch for aphids.

Garden Uses

Moist shaded areas of rock gardens. Also effective in lightly shaded woodland areas where plants can be left alone to naturalize. Mass or large groups are best.