How to Grow Canterbury Bells Flowers

Learn why you should add canterbury bells flowers to your garden beds and get expert tips on how to grow these biennial blooms.

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How to Grow Canterbury Bells

canterbury bellsCourtesy Pamela Holland
Canterbury bells flowers in a vase

“What are these flowers in my bouquet?” asks Birds & Blooms reader Pamela Holland of Williamsburg, Ohio.

Garden expert Melinda Myers says, “These canterbury bells (Campanula medium) are often used in flower arrangements and can be grown in gardens. The plant is biennial—it produces just a rosette of leaves the first year before flowering, setting seed and dying in the second year. Since it is hardy in Zones 3 to 9, you can grow this in your Ohio garden. Plant in full to partial sun with moist, well-draining soil. Gardeners in hotter regions need to provide some afternoon shade for these flowers. Cover the first-year leaves with evergreen boughs or straw after the ground freezes in winter to increase overwintering success. Stake the plants in their second year or grow them in small groupings so they support each other.”

Find out why fall is the best time to plant poppy flower seeds.

  • Common name: Canterberry bells
  • Scientific name: Campanula medium
  • Zones: 3 to 9
  • Soil: Moist, well-draining soil
  • Light needs: Full sun to partial sun
  • Attracts: Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds

canterbury bellsVia Merchant

These bell-shaped flowers are easy to grow from seeds, however you will not see blooms until the second growing season. Direct sow seeds after the last frost; do not cover the seeds with soil but water regularly.

Allow some flowers to freely reseed and you will see blooms in future years. Note that canterbury bells plants are resistant to deer and rabbits.

You may also see second-year biennial stock available in nursery containers at garden centers. Other biennials to look for include sweet William and foxglove.

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Next, check out the top 10 old fashioned flowers to grow.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.