The Plant Native

Bluebell Bellflower

Highlights

Bluebell Bellflowers are one of North America’s iconic wildflowers for a reason: they are delicately stunning, especially when planted in groups. And their bloom time is incredible: June to September! They are also very easy to grow, thanks to their ability to thrive in a wide range of soils and sunlight. Plant them alongside other natives that are white or yellow to help their color shine. Scroll on for planting tips! 

Full Sun – Part Shade
1-3′ tall
Flowers June-Sept
Campanula rotundifolia
Plant native Bluebell Bellflowers against the edge of your lawn for fuss-free beauty

Dig Deeper

Explore the history, types, and where to plant native Bluebell Bellflowers

Table of Contents

Bluebell Bellflowers are delightful flowers—native to a wide swath of North America (see below for a map)—that offer beauty and gardening ease, making them an ideal choice for beginner gardeners. Here’s your guide to growing Bluebell Bellflowers in your outdoor spaces:

What are the benefits of planting native Bluebell Bellflowers?

There are so many benefits to planting native plants like this one. Some benefits include:

  • Super low maintenance: Bluebells need minimal care to thrive
  • Comes back year after year: this is a perennial, or a plant that comes back year after year from the same roots. So plant once and enjoy for years!
  • Easy to grow from seed: you can have a patch of Bluebells for under $5!
  • Gorgeous flowers. Beauty matters! A gorgeous landscape with native flowers lifts spirits. Plant a patch of Bluebells and see for yourself.
This delicate flower goes by the names Bluebell, Harebell, and Witches' Thimble

The many names of Bluebell Bellflowers

While we’re calling it ‘Bluebell’ here, this plant has many common names. A common name is the name passed down through generations to refer to a particular plant. This plant also goes by Bluebell Bellflower, Bluebell Of Scotland, Harebell, Common Harebell, Lady’s Thimble, Witches’ Thimble, and Witches’ Bells.

All these common names make the singular Latin name so helpful! Look for the Latin name Campanula rotundifolia to ensure you’ve found this plant.

Is Bluebell Bellflower the same as Virginia Bluebells?

No. Bluebell Bellflower and Virginia Bluebell are two different plants. (I know, so confusing!) These pictures help explain the differences.

Bluebell Bellflower = tall, elegant stem + hanging flowers

Bluebell Bellflower

Campanula rotundifolia

  • Huge native range: all of Canada and most of the United States
  • Long bloom-time: spring through summer
  • Tall-ish: 1-3′
Virginia Bluebell = tubular flowers that hang down

Virginia Bluebells

Mertensia virginica

  • Native to eastern seaboard: From Nova Scotia to Georgia
  • Blooms in the early spring
  • Short: 12-18″

Worried about getting these mixed up?

We hear you—it is confusing. To make sure you’re looking at Bluebell Bellflower, using the Latin name is your best bet. If you’re looking for Bluebell Bellflower, ensure the plant tag says Campanula Rotundifolia.

What are good places to plant Bluebell Bellflower?

Bluebell Bellflowers are great in the following landscaping spots:

  • Edges of lawns
  • Underneath trees and shrubs
  • Garden borders
  • Mixed in with other flowers (especially white and yellow ones)
Everywhere green = Bluebells native range (Map from USDA)

Where are Bluebell Bellflowers native?

It’s hard to find a plant that has a larger range! You can find Bluebell Bellflowers from Alaska to North Carolina. Almost everyone in North America can happily plant this native flower.

Bluebell Bellflower has such a huge range because it’s a “circumpolar” native species, or a plant that grows around the world in the Northern Hemisphere (source.) You’ll also find Bluebells in Scotland, Finland, etc. 

What are good pairings for Bluebell Bellflower?

Bluebell Bellflowers are best paired with other native perennials that like the same conditions but flower at different times. This ensures your garden always has something in bloom and the pollinators always have something to eat. They also look great alongside white and yellow natives—the blue + yellow + white combo makes Bluebells pop in the garden.

Great pairings include springtime flowers like False Blue Indigo and Golden Alexander; summer favorites are Culver’s Root, coneflowers, coreopsis, and Joe-Pye Weed; and fall-time bloomers like native asters and goldenrods.

Native flowers for the spring

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False Blue Indigo

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Golden Alexander

Native flowers for the summer

Native flowers for the fall

Feeling a little overwhelmed picking native plants?

Gardening should be fun and not feel like a botany exam. If you’re feeling overwhelmed as you plan your native garden, check out our inspiration guides! They are all written to help get you gardening (and not worrying.)

To make garden planning easy: Three-Color Native Gardens and Single-Plant Native Gardens are great resources.

Or, if you’re looking to focus on a specific butterfly or bird (or keep deer away!), visit Best Native Plants for BirdsBest Native Plants for Butterflies, and Deer-Resistant Native Plants.

Remember: native plants plant themselves. If they can do it, so can we.

And now, to make it even easier—here are some ideas on where you can find Bluebell Bellflower for your yard:

Bluebell Bellflower

Where can I find seeds and plants?

Finding native plants can be challenging (we partly blame Marie Antoinette.) To make it easier, we’ve assembled four sourcing ideas.

Native Plant Nurseries

Our list of native nurseries makes finding one a breeze

Online Communities

Local Facebook groups are a great plant source

Bluebell Bellflowers make landscaping easy: plant some seeds and enjoy the show

In conclusion, Bluebell Bellflowers are gorgeous native flowers that look best planted in groups to let their delicate beauty shine. They are so easy to plant and come back year after year. Because they are native, they don’t need any fussy fertilizers or irrigation systems—after the first year of getting established, they are happy with just rain. Bluebells are perfect for almost anyone’s garden in North America—from the Northwest to the Northeast. Plant a patch and don’t forget to tag us on Instagram so we can join the ‘like’ party. Happy planting!

UPDATED —
04/18/2024
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