Campanulastrum americanum Tall Bellflower
Looking for a taller woodland wildflower of a pretty light to darker blue to light up the back garden or woodland edges in mid-summer to early in the fall? Tall Bellflower might be a good choice for you!
I first learned this plant when it showed up in my garden a few years ago. Sitting on the patio, my eye was caught by a tall, open flower spike of light lavender-blue flowers. The flowers are eye-catching on closer view.
The whole plant can top out at anywhere from two to six feet with the flower spike being anywhere from a quarter to a third of that. Each flower is about one inch in diameter. Five petals are joined at the base of the corolla which is often white rather than blue. A single blue-violet style extends down from the flowers center and curls up near its tip lending it a sort of “come hither” character. Flowers offer both nectar and pollen reward to visitors. The flowering period lasts for approximately 6 weeks.
Tall Bellflower is found in woodland habitats where it prefers a more loamy soil, partial sun to light shade and moist to average moisture soils. It’s presence along woodland paths seems to indicate a preference for some disturbance leading me to believe this wildflower is a good replacement for Dames Rocket if you are looking for color in your woodland, and also for the invasive European Bellflower (Campanula ranunculoides) (Invasive Plant Atlas).
Bumblebees and leaf-cutting bees are the primary pollinators. One, the bellflower resin bee (Megachile campanulae), is dependent on this plant for its life cycle. It also attracts sweat bees, yellow-faced bees, butterflies and skippers.
One note: This wildflower is an annual (sometimes a biennial) but produces many seeds and will reseed readily in good soils.