Canterbury bells were named for their bell-shaped flowers.
image by crcollins/Flickr.com
Canterbury bells, also known as bell flowers, are biennial flowering plants that are grown in most temperate regions around the world. They produce flowers that are blue, purple or white in color, and shaped like small bells. The plants can grow up to 3 feet in height, and are commonly used as a border plant. Canterbury bells bloom in late spring and summer, and require little effort to maintain.
Plant Canterbury bells during spring in well-drained soil made up of three parts gardening soil to one part sand. Canterbury bells don't have any specific soil preferences, but the selected medium must have high drainage. Ensure the location receives periods of direct sunlight and shade throughout the day.
Water frequently enough to keep the soil consistently moist at all times, about three to four times per week. Never allow the soil to become soggy or crown rot can occur, which will kill Canterbury bells. Reduce watering to once a week during winter.
Spread a small amount of a low nitrogen 5-10-5 NPK fertilizer in a small ring surrounding Canterbury bell plants during early spring. Apply the fertilizer two more times in 6-week intervals. Never allow the fertilizer to touch the foliage of the plant to prevent burning.
Remove any dead Canterbury bell flowers as soon as possible or the plant will spend excess nutrients forming seeds. Pinch the flowers off as close to the stem as possible. This will result in more flower growth the following season.
Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch over the planting site prior to the first frost of winter. This will insulate the soil, and prevent the Canterbury bells from taking too much cold damage. Remove the mulch in early spring after the soil has warmed.