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Commonly called a giant bellflower, Campanula latifolia is a species of flowering plant in the bellflower family. Native to many parts of Europe, giant bellflowers have large, showy bell-shaped blossoms in shades of blue and purple. These perennial flowers are often used as striking additions to gardens and have been imported from Europe into North America.
Campanula latifolia normally reaches 3–4 feet (0.9–1.2 m) in height, but occasionally may grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m). A single, unbranched stem is responsible for the height. Stems are normally fuzzy or hairy. A rosette of green, oblong leaves, each approximately 6 inches (15.24 cm) long, surrounds the stem at the base. As individual leaves travel up the stem, they grow shorter and more narrow.
In summer, the blossoms grow on the axils of the leaves. An axil is an area which connects the leaf to the stem. Blooms often appear in short or long rows along the stems, though sometimes they are seen in clusters. The flowers themselves are five-petaled and oblong, creating a bell shape, and may be up to 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) in length. Normally shades of blue-purple, Campanula latifolia blossoms may also be white.
Relatively low maintenance and easy to grow, Campanula latifolia prefers regular watering and well-drained soil. In cooler climates, the plants do better in full sun, whereas in warmer climates partial shade is best. Despite growing well in many types of soil compositions, they do not usually tolerate acidic or strongly alkaline soils. Although the giant bellflower is pollinated by bees and other insects, it is also a hermaphroditic flower, meaning it can self-pollinate. These plants tend to spread aggressively if not strictly maintained, though some specifically cultivated versions may be less aggressive.
Due to the striking coloring of the flowers, Campanula latifolia can be a vibrant addition to any garden with suitable soil, water, and light requirements. They are most often placed in cottage gardens, which are informal or casually structured. Normally planted in groups or clumps, these flowers can also be used near borders, but do not make good border plants. In the wild, giant bellflowers can be found in open woodlands in their native ranges.
There are few diseases or pests that affect giant bellflowers. Since these plants rely on a single long stem for support, their largest health issue is often the stems bending or breaking under the weight of the flowers. Additional support, such as staking, may be required to prevent breakage.
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