My Bells, Steppe Flowers

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My Bells, Steppe Flowers
My Bells, Steppe Flowers

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The botanical name for the campanula bell is a diminutive of the late Latin and Italian word 'campana' - a bell shaped like a flower corolla. Hence the Russian popular name bell, which is entrenched in the Russian botanical nomenclature.

The people have always loved this flower, which is evidenced by the affectionate names that were given to it in different localities: birdwort, chebotki, bells, chenille … And according to popular belief, they call only once a year - on the magical night before Ivan Kupala.

Small-leaved bell (Campanula cochleariifolia)
Small-leaved bell (Campanula cochleariifolia)

Bellflower (Campanula) is a genus of exclusively herbaceous plants from the Campanulaceae family.

Stems are simple or branched from 5 to 150 cm tall. The leaves are arranged in a regular order, sometimes collected in a socket. Inflorescences are paniculate, less often racemose, in some species the flowers are single. The corolla is spine-lobe, bell-shaped, funnel-shaped, tubular-bell-shaped, less often flatish and almost wheel-shaped. The fruit is a capsule. Seeds are numerous, small, viable for up to 4 years. In 1 gram up to 4500 seeds.

By the ability of bells to preserve leaves during the growing season, most of the species can be classified as summer-green, that is, their growing season (spring regrowth) begins in spring at an average temperature of + 5 ° C, and ends with the first frost.

Another group of species is winter-green, these are plants that retain the ability to grow throughout the year, that is, from snow to snow. If such plants are transferred to a warm room in the fall, then they retain green leaves for the whole winter, and will bloom in April. These are, for example, Mediterranean species - bells medium, povoinichkovy, gargan; - or Caucasian species - bells of Kemularia and Radde. These species can be recommended as indoor potting crops, and the middle bell is recommended as a forcing crop and for cutting.

Growing

Bells are undemanding to soils, but they develop better on well-cultivated, drained, with sufficient nutrition, neutral or slightly alkaline soils. It is desirable that the site be well drained with the help of branch ditches or drainage pipes, since the bells do not tolerate stagnant water during wintering, their roots rot and freeze out. Do not plant them in areas flooded with rain or spring waters.

Peach bell (Campanula persicifolia)
Peach bell (Campanula persicifolia)

The soil for planting plants is prepared in advance by digging up to 30-40 cm and carefully removing the weeds. Sand and peat are added to heavy clay and loamy soils. These soils contain enough nutrients, so fertilization should be done in small amounts. In loose, but sandy soils poor in humus, sod land, peat, humus or silty pond soil should be added. Fresh peat and manure should not be applied, as this can cause an outbreak of fungal diseases.

As for the acidity of the soil, most species grow well on neutral and slightly alkaline, and species such as bearded and cut bells grow well on slightly acidic soil. Mountain species growing in nature on limestone rocks need slightly alkaline soils, therefore, it is better to calcify the soil before planting them (three-toothed bells, Osh, Kemularia, etc.).

Care

In the spring, before the spring regrowth, the plants need to be fed with nitrogen fertilizer, it is good to pour well-rotted manure and ash under the bushes (at the rate of 400 g per 10 m²). Before budding, fertilizing with mineral NPK mixtures of low concentration (10-15 g / m2) is useful. In the first half of summer (before flowering), regular weeding and loosening of the soil are required.

Most bells in the middle lane can do without watering, in dry periods they are watered sparingly. The only exceptions are forest and coastal species (broadleaf, dotted bells, Takeshima). All bells do not tolerate stagnant water. If you carefully remove withered flowers and dried peduncles, then you can extend the flowering period of the bells.

The flowering shoots left to collect seeds are cut off when the bolls are brown, but before the pores are opened (otherwise the seeds will spill out on the ground). In late September - early October, all stems are cut to the root.

Bells are transplanted in spring and autumn. In early spring (after the snow melts), bells with a powerful root system (broadleaf, crowded bells, etc.) can be transplanted. Bells with a less developed root system are best replanted in May when the soil warms up. In autumn, it is better to do this in late August - early September, so that the plants have time to take root before the onset of frost.

Some species with compact, shallow root systems can be replanted throughout the growing season, even during flowering. Plants should be transplanted with a large clod of earth in order to injure the roots as little as possible, and it is good to shed a previously prepared hole before and after planting (Carpathian bells, round-leaved, polymorphic, spoon-leaved, gargan, medium, etc.).

Carpathian bell (Campanula carpatica)
Carpathian bell (Campanula carpatica)

Only southern species (gargan bells, pyramidal bells, middle bells, etc.) require light shelter with spruce branches or a dry leaf. You can sprinkle tall plants with dry peat or humus with a layer of 15-20 cm, but not more.

Reproduction

Reproduction by seeds, dividing the bush, segments of rhizomes, root suckers, green cuttings. Reproduction techniques depend on the biological characteristics of a given species, its life form. Thus, annual species reproduce only by seeds, biennial species - by seeds and spring cuttings. Among perennials there are vegetatively immobile plants - these are tap-root and cluster-root plants, reproduce only by seeds. Vegetatively sedentary - short rhizome, propagated by seeds, dividing the bush and green cuttings. Vegetatively mobile - long-rhizome, stolon-forming and root-sucking plants, propagated by seeds, dividing the bush, root suckers, rhizome segments, green cuttings.

Seed reproduction. The fruits (capsules) of the bells are harvested when they turn brown, but until the pores open. After drying the capsules, the seeds spill out themselves through the opened pores. Bellflower seeds are usually very small, so they can be mixed with washed sand or crushed chalk before sowing. Seeds can be sown directly into the ground (in spring or autumn) or pre-grow seedlings from them and plant them in a flower garden with the onset of heat. Seating beds must be prepared in advance. For spring sowing, the ridges must be prepared in the fall. The earth must be air permeable and sufficiently nutritious.

Sow superficially or very finely. The sown seeds can be covered with a thin layer of sand. In spring, seeds are sown in May, in autumn - in the second half of October. Seeds sown in spring germinate in 10-12 days. Podwinter crops sprout next spring, two weeks after the ground thaws and warms up. The seedlings are thinned out, and after the appearance of the third leaf, they dive in a checkerboard pattern at a distance of 10 cm from each other. You can sow seeds before winter not in the beds, but in boxes with light fertile soil. For the winter, boxes are buried in the garden, covered with foil. In the spring, the film is removed, and the boxes are shaded from the bright sun. In June, seedlings dive into the beds, where they grow until the next spring, when they are planted in a permanent place in a flower garden.

For growing seedlings in a greenhouse, seeds are sown in March in pick boxes. The boxes are filled with a mixture of two-year leaf or turf soil with sand and the addition of well-weathered crushed peat. Organic fertilizers should not be applied. Seedlings usually appear in 10-15 days, they are dived, and in early June the seedlings are planted in the ground.

Bellflower (Campanula latifolia)
Bellflower (Campanula latifolia)

Vegetative propagation allows you to get plants that accurately repeat all the properties of the mother. This is especially valuable for semi-double and double forms, which do not bear fruit, and southern species of bells, the seeds of which do not ripen in our conditions. Plants are usually divided and transplanted during the 3-5th year of vegetation, however, some bells, for example, bells peach, speckled, Takeshima, crowded, rapunzel-like, can be divided in the fall in the first year of flowering.

The bushes are divided in early May or August so that the plants have time to take root before the onset of frost. Division of the bush: the mother plant is dug up, the above-ground shoots are cut off and cut into separate divisions with a knife or shovel. Each division must have a root system and several renewal buds. This is how bells are divided into crowded, head, oblong-leaved, etc. Division of rhizomes: the excavated rhizome is divided into segments with several renewal buds and planted in shallow grooves so that the renewal buds are at the level of the soil (rapuniform, spoon-leaved, peach-leaved bells, etc.) … Root offspring are separated from the mother plant along with the roots and transplanted into a flower garden. This is how point bells, Takeshima, etc. are propagated. Young growing shoots are used for cuttings.

Kinds

The Carpathian bell (Campanula carpatica) is common on calcareous rocks in the upper rop belt of Europe. It has a fibrous, whitish root. Stems 20 - 40 cm high, numerous, straight, branched, form a spherical bush. Leaves are long-petiolate, heart-shaped; basal - up to 5 cm long, stem - smaller. The flowers are single, large, up to 3 cm long and the same width, blue. Blooms from late June - early July to mid September. The flowering is very abundant. The seeds ripen in August - October, have a high germination capacity (up to 90%). Abundant self-seeding is often formed.

Carpathian bell (Campanula carpatica)
Carpathian bell (Campanula carpatica)

The nettle-leaved bell (Campanula trachelium) grows mainly in shady, mostly mixed forests. Distributed in Europe, Western Siberia, North Africa. The nettle-leaved bell is also popularly called the big bell, upland, gooseneck, throat grass and lotion grass for use in the treatment of sore throat. Its leaves and roots are used in salad, and young leaves are used for cooking cabbage soup.

Nettle bellflower (Campanula trachelium)
Nettle bellflower (Campanula trachelium)

Campanula cochleariifolia can be found on limestones in the mountains of Europe. A low, creeping perennial with filamentous stems 10 - 18 cm high, forms a continuous sod. The leaves are small, light green. The flowers are white, blue, drooping, up to 1 cm in diameter, collected in loose inflorescences. Blooms from mid-June to late August, abundant flowering and fruiting. Self seeding is possible. Decorative until late autumn.

Small-leaved bell (Campanula cochleariifolia)
Small-leaved bell (Campanula cochleariifolia)

Bellflower (Campanula latifolia) lives in the upper forest and subalpine belts of the Caucasus Mountains and Asia Minor. Tall (60-100 cm) racemeal plant with a highly branched stem in the upper part. The flowers are 3 cm in diameter, from milky white to lilac in color, collected in a broad-pyramidal inflorescence with up to 100 flowers. Blooms very profusely in June-July, numerous seeds are formed in August.

Bellflower (Campanula latifolia)
Bellflower (Campanula latifolia)

Peach bell (Campanula persicifolia)- a brush-root plant of forests and forest edges of Europe, the Caucasus and Western Siberia. From the rosette of basal leaves in the middle of summer, a slender, strong stem, 60-100 cm high, with smaller than rosette, linear-lanceolate dark green leaves, rises. The stem ends with a cluster of blue or white flowers. The corolla of the flower is broadly bell-shaped, 3 - 3.5 cm wide. There are garden forms with double flowers. The bell blooms from June almost all summer. On faded shoots, fruits are laid - capsules with numerous seeds, ripening in August-September. Self seeding is possible. To lengthen the flowering period and preserve decorativeness, they do not allow the formation of seeds, removing the faded flowers, and separate lower specimens are left as testes. Youngster.

Peach bell (Campanula persicifolia)
Peach bell (Campanula persicifolia)

Pozharsky's bell (Campanula poscharskyana) is a plant of limestone rocks of southern Europe, the Balkans. Forms a dense pillow 15-20 cm high from petiolate heart-shaped leaves and numerous peduncles. The flowers are broadly bell-shaped, almost star-shaped, light plum-blue. Blooms very profusely from July to late summer. Seeds ripen in August-September. In culture, varieties are mainly used that differ in the larger size of the entire plant, as well as the color of the corolla.

  • Blauranka is a very large, vigorous variety, 20 cm high, with light blue flowers that do not lose their decorative effect. Suitable for forcing and growing on balconies.
  • Plants of varieties EG Frost have a height of 15 cm, a white flower with a blue eye;
  • Lisduggan - height 20 cm, lavender pink flower,
  • Stella is 15 cm high, the flower is large, star-shaped, dark purple.
Bell Pozharsky (Campanula poscharskyana)
Bell Pozharsky (Campanula poscharskyana)

Diseases and pests

Bells are rarely damaged by diseases and pests. However, with long-term cultivation in one place, pathogenic microorganisms can accumulate in the soil, causing the death of plants. The most harmful of the fungi are Fusarium, Sclerotinia, Botrytis. Double treatment (in spring and autumn) of the soil and aboveground parts of plants with a 0.2% solution of foundationol will help to get rid of diseases. From pests on bells in wet weather, a drooling penny can appear, and slugs can appear under stunted species with abundant foliage. The fastest way to get rid of slugs will help a handful of superphosphate, scattered at the base of the stem, or sprinkling with a decoction of capsicum, and an infusion of garlic for a slobbering penny.

Using

Solitary landings, or tapeworm (translated from French - "lonely, solitary"). A single planted plant, in order to attract attention, must be tall, with beautiful leaves, flowers and inflorescences, bloom for a long time and maintain a decorative effect. On the lawn, near the reservoir, at the fork in the paths, you can plant a lush bush of broad-leaved bell, up to 1.5 m high, nettle-leaved, pyramidal and peach-leaved bells with white or blue flowers.

The flowering bellflower bush with numerous light lilac, broadly bell-shaped flowers, collected in lush racemose inflorescences, a middle bell, similar to a bouquet of pink, blue, white or blue flowers, in which leaves are almost invisible, looks spectacular against the background of the dark foliage of trees and shrubs. Interesting for single landings and the tirsoid bell.

Carpathian bell
Carpathian bell

Groups. This is the most common type of planting of perennials. A group of large-flowered bells will decorate any lawn, tall plants can serve as a smooth transition from arboreal and shrub plants to the lawn, and shade-tolerant species such as nettle-leaved bells, peach-leaved, crowded, rapune-like, broad-leaved, dotted, will revive the shaded corners of your garden. The group should not be strictly symmetrical in shape, it is better to arrange it as a natural composition with a smoothly winding outline. The planting density of plants in a group depends on the species.

Tall bells (bells broad-leaved, lactic-flowered, nettle-leaved, pyramidal, noble-large-flowered, rapunzel) are planted in loose groups (at a distance of 45-60 cm) for their better development and greater decorative effect; medium-high - 25-30 cm apart or 6-12 plants per 1 m², and undersized - up to 20 plants per 1 m². Group plantings can be composed of one species, and all bells are suitable for such solid color groups.

More complex groups are created from bells of different species with different flowering periods. Bells can also be used in mixed groups with other perennials (lychnis, trollius, chamomile, etc.), but when choosing plants, it is necessary to take into account the height, flowering time, color and shape of flowers and leaves, habit.

Nettle bellflower (Campanula trachelium)
Nettle bellflower (Campanula trachelium)

A flower bed (from it. Rabatte - "bed" is a long strip or "wide ribbon" with parallel sides). Plants are planted in long parallel rows or staggered. They are placed on the lawn, along paths and retaining walls or platforms. They can be one-sided and two-sided, single-tiered and multi-tiered. On a one-sided rabatka, tall plants are planted on the far side (bells are large-ear, Bologna, pyramidal, broad-leaved, lactic-flowered, nettle-leaved, thyrsoid, etc.), low ones are closer to the front (bells are Carpathian, Altai, Siberian, divergent, border, gargan, etc.). You can arrange the plants with a gradual decrease towards the front side, then the rabatka becomes multi-tiered. If the background is shrubs or climbing hedges,then the rabatka can be decorated with not very tall plants, such as garlic-leaved bells, pale ocher, Sarmatian, Hoffman, lyre-shaped, crowded.

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