How to Grow and Care for Dalmatian Bellflower

Dalmatian bellflower plant with small purple bell-shaped flowers clustered on thin stems

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Dalmatian bellflowers (Campanula portenschlagiana) are low-growing herbaceous perennial flowers that are often used as edging plants in borders, to spill over stone retaining walls, or to fill in gaps between stepping stones. Like other members of the very large Campanula genus, dalmatian bellflowers have dark green leaves and purple or blue cup- or bell-shaped flowers. This plant usually blooms from late spring nearly into fall. In many climates, they are virtually evergreen, since new leaves are constantly replacing old leaves as the mature leaves fade and turn brown.

Botanical Name
Campanula portenschlagiana (formerly known as C. muralis)
Common Name Dalmatian bellflower, Adria bellflower, wall bellflower
Family Campanulaceae
Plant Type Herbaceous, perennial, flower
Mature Size 3-6 in. tall, 6-12 in. wide
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Moist but well-drained soil 
Soil pH Neutral, alkaline
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color Violet, blue
Hardiness Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Native Area Mediterranean 

Dalmation Bellflower Care

Because Dalmation bellflower has weak stems and an ability to spread via rhizomes, the most natural use of this perennial is as a ground cover. Alternatively, you can train them to grow upward, using a peony ring or similar support structure. Dalmatian bellflowers should be planted in average well-drained soil that remains consistently damp but not soggy. They generally like full sun, but in warmer climates, they will perform better if given some shade. In ideal conditions, this plant will spread fairly quickly, both by extending its rhizomatous roots and by self-seeding.

Dalmation bellflower plant covering ground with small purple flowers and leaves

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Dalmation bellflower with purple bell-shaped flower and bud closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Dalmation bellflower plant stems with small purple flowers

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Dalmation bellflower plant with fringed heart-shaped leaves in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Dalmation bellflower plant covering large rocks and ground

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Light

This plant thrives in full sun to part shade; the hotter the climate, the more it will appreciate some shade. This species tolerates more shade than most other Campanula plants.

Soil

This plant prefers moist but well-drained soil but does fairly well in average soil types without much organic material.

Water

Dalmatian bellflowers have typical needs for water. About 1 inch of water per week, in the form of rainfall or irrigation, will keep them blooming. Once well established, Dalmatian bellflowers can tolerate short periods of drought.

Temperature and Humidity

These plants perform poorly in climates with hot, humid conditions where night temperatures remain above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They do well wherever conditions are cooler than this in zones 4 to 8.

Fertilizer

This is a hardy plant that doesn't require much feeding. A spring application of organic fertilizer or a layer of compost will provide all the nutrients necessary.

Types of Dalmation Bellflower

  • Campanula portenschlagiana 'Aurea': One of the most popular cultivars, commonly called golden dalmatian bellflower; attractive golden spring foliage that gradually acquires green tones as the growing season progresses.
  • C. portenschlagiana ‘Birch’s Hybrid’: A more upright plant with true blue flowers, with tinges of purple at the margins.
  • C. portenschlagiana ‘Resholdt's Variety’: A slightly larger variety, growing to 12 inches high, with lilac blooms.
  • Campanula poscharskyana: A different but similar species to C. portenschlagiana, it grows to 12 inches in height; the common name is Serbian bellflower.
  • C. carpatica: Another similar species, a mound-forming bellflower that grows 12 inches tall and is available in white cultivars; not a creeping spreader but can be frequently divided and replanted to cover large areas of ground. Common names include Carpathian bellflower and tussock bellflower.

Pruning

Dalmation bellflowers are herbaceous plants that do not need pruning in the way that trees and woody shrubs do, but pruning or trimming the plants can help promote flowering in summer. Cutting back the dead foliage in fall gets the plant ready for the cold winter ahead.

If your bellflower's blooming tapers off as the summer progresses, sheer the plants to induce additional flowering. In addition, regular deadheading of spent flowers during the growing season will also help prolong the bloom periods.

Propagating Dalmatian Bellflowers

Dalmatian bellflowers will readily self-seed, and the offspring plants can be carefully dug up and transplanted to other locations. It is also quite easy to propagate bellflowers by dividing them. Simply cut away a portion of the plant clump at the perimeter, making sure to get both foliage and a section of roots, then transplant the section immediately to a new location. Make sure the roots are fully buried.

How to Grow Dalmation Bellflower From Seed

Dalmation bellflowers are good candidates for seed germination to get a head start on the season. Plant the seeds in flats (or as desired). Press the seeds into the soil without covering them. Provide light to promote germination, and maintain a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit for two to four weeks. Transplant the seedlings with approximately 6- to 12-inch spacing.

Overwintering

To prepare the plants for winter, wait until the first frost or two has killed the foliage, then cut back the plants to the ground. Cover the soil around the plants with an inch or two of compost, then add a layer of straw or mulch material to keep out weed seeds. Remove the mulch in spring.

Common Pests

Dalmation bellflowers are sturdy plants that have few serious insect pests or diseases, but slugs and snails often enjoy feasting on the leaves. Remove them by hand when you see them.

FAQ
  • How long does Dalmation bellflower bloom?

    The first flush of blooms usually lasts for a week or so. To get a second crop of blossoms, deadhead the bellflowers after the spring bloom and look for more color in the fall.

  • Can Dalmation bellflower grow indoors?

    Though it can be started as seedlings indoors, this plant needs outdoor space to spread rhizomes and thrive.

  • What are good companion plants to Dalmation bellflower?

    To beautify your garden borders even more, consider adding daylily, cranesbill, coral bells, or cornflower along with Dalmation bellflower.

Serbian bellflower
Serbian bellflower  Basya555 / Getty Images 
Campanula carpatica
Campanula carpatica helga_sm​ / Getty Images