Friday, July 24, 2015

My favorite plant this week: Campanula primulifolia

I have a tendency to get excited about plants early in our acquaintanceship, bubbling over with enthusiasm about a plant when we're really still just getting acquainted.  For that reason, I was hesitant to present Campanula primulifolia as my favorite plant this week.  But, even if I don't yet know whether it harbors a darker side than it's currently exhibiting in my garden, I can't help the fact that it's the plant I'm fixated on at the moment.  It's only just started to bloom too - I expect it may look a lot flashier in another week or two; however, I've been watching and waiting for this plant to bloom for a good 6-8 weeks now so, when I walked through the front garden and saw that it was blooming (finally!), it was settled.  It's my favorite plant this week.

This clump is comprised of 3 plants, situated in partial shade under the peppermint willow trees (Agonis flexuosa) in the front garden
More flowers opened overnight


I purchased these plants by mail order in January.  I love Campanulas but the only one that has bloomed reliably for me has been the diminutive C. poscharskyana.  Although perennial here, I can't claim that it makes a statement.

Campanula poscharskyana, a groundcover plant, is only just beginning to bloom as well


In contrast, C. primulifolia grows 3 feet (0.91 meters) tall and about half as wide.  It produces relatively large (2 inch/5cm) flowers over an extended period (or so on-line sources tell me).



It appears that the flowers generally open along the lower stem first but that doesn't seem to be entirely consistent.




Moreover, the plant is adaptable.  It's reported to grow in sun or shade and, although drought tolerant, it can take regular water as well.  It's perennial in USDA zones 4-10, according to the grower.  Mine produced flower spikes in June and I half expected it to flower for Bloom Day in June.  I was surprised, and moderately annoyed, when it didn't flower in time for Bloom Day in July either.  Perhaps our recent rain tipped the scales as the first flowers showed up soon after last weekend's unexpected thunderstorms.



Campanula primulifolia is my favorite plant this week.  Loree of danger garden hosts a monthly wrap-up of her favorite plants on the last Friday of each month so be sure to check in with her next week.

Quite a few flowers have appeared since Bloom Day in mid-July.  I can only assume that the rain prompted this as July is usually a pretty low-key (if not downright sad) month for blooms in my Southern California garden.  I'll post photos of some of these recent blooms soon but, for now, I'll leave you with a photo of my first ever Plumeria bloom, another big surprise I discovered this week.

A friend gave me 2 Plumeria cuttings earlier this year.  I didn't expect much as I've killed them off before but I followed her advice and left them confined in a relatively small nursery pot and I was rewarded with a bloom. (The other cutting is leafing out too.)



All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

27 comments:

  1. That is a pretty one and it can take both heat and cold. I don't think I've seen them here but I should look into finding some to try. I especially love blue flowers in the front garden. Congratulations on the Plumeria bloom, I know how special that is since I've killed several recently.

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    1. My friend told me that she's learned that Plumeria cuttings should be grown in a contained space in their infancy. I don't know what her source was but, as I'd previously killed 2 or 3 I planted in large pots (and as they were her gift to me), I followed her instructions and, voilà, I had flowers. Like Cymbidiums, perhaps they like having their roots crowded.

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  2. How'd I ever miss that Campanula? It looks like a good one.

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    1. I got mine by mail order from Annie's in case you're interested.

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  3. I love campanulas too. But the Plumeria leaves me green with envy.

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    1. The only reason I didn't feature that Plumeria as my favorite this week is that it had just one flower and it's still in a plastic pot (with another Plumeria cutting no less). That struck even me as a premature declaration. However, I did note that, as of today, that stalk has 2 flowers!

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  4. Congratulations on getting the Plumeria to strike (and flower)! I love that Campanula it's very stately. I love blue flowers as well, so I'm going to keep an eye out for it!

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    1. Plumeria are surprisingly common in my current community (where I've now resided for 4.5 years). In fact, there's a house 2-3 miles down the hill from us that has an entire front garden filled with Plumeria shrubs. They're not as tall as the trees you see in Hawaii but still impressive. If they can grow them, then I figure I should be able to as well, especially if our summer weather remains as tropical as it's been this year..

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  5. I think we all get excited about new plants. I hope this Campanula rewards your excitement. It is pretty, but what a tease making you wait so long! I'd love a thunderstorm or two over my garden.

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    1. I hope you get your own summer storm soon, Evan! If it can happen here, it can happen there.

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  6. The Campanula is really nice. It reminds me of a Delphinium but I bet it's a lot tougher. But that Plumeria... ooh, la, la! Does it have a fragrance? And do the plants lose their leaves if winter? I had one years ago and thought it was dead because it lost all its leaves. I'd really like to get another one but it has to be really fragrant. I need to do my research. Great post! So glad you got rain!!!

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    1. The Plumeria does have a slight fragrance, which might be more powerful when it has more than 2 blooms. They are deciduous (here anyway, I don't remember seeing bare tree limbs in Hawaii).

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  7. Like you I love campanulas and this is a very pretty one.
    I am impressed with your Plumeria flower. A friend from Martinique gave me a little cutting 5 years ago. It lives in a pot in the greenhouse and comes into the house in Winter. It grows taller each year and gets healthy leaves each summer but I long for a flower. What do you feed yours on?

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    1. I haven't fed this one at all, Chloris. In fact, I was using (non-potable) graywater from the kitchen on it until it rained last week. The graywater, left over from rinsing dishes, washing fruits, steaming vegetables, hand-washing and the like, may include some nutrients but I'd be at a loss to identify them.

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  8. The Hub puts out plumeria in a mini-grove each year (they won't overwinter here unfortunately) so ours are blooming laggards as they have to get started fresh from going dormant every year. We always hope for blooms in August and September though, and often the plumeria are one of the few plants that look happy here during that time span. Worth the wait, we say, worth the wait.

    Speaking of waiting I know exactly what you mean about the flower stalk teases in our gardens. I think I checked a day lily daily for weeks and once I gave up of course it bloomed pretty promptly, but that was fully weeks after I'd expected to see it. And yes, the moment the first bloom opened it was instantly my VERY FAVORITE plant. Flowers will do that.

    The campanulas remind me a bit of your solanum minus the yellow middles. Looking forward to seeing some of these in a vase before too long!

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    1. The Campanula and the Solanum do have somewhat similar growth habits but the Campanula's flower stalks are huskier and the flowers are larger. Yes, I think you can expect to see some of these in a vase very soon, Deb.

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  9. Understand that you try again Plumeria is very sweet.
    Best regards
    Mariana

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    1. The last time I killed a Plumeria, when we lived at our old house, I said I'd never try them again. I reconsidered my decision when I saw how many neighbors grew them but, if my friend hadn't given me a cutting, I don't know when I might have gotten around to trying one again. I hope I can keep it alive! It looks as if it's already rooting into the ground beneath the pot.

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  10. I don't have much luck with Campanulas, but this one is very pretty and looks robust. It is annoying when plants bloom between Bloom Days, and are finished too soon. I cheat sometimes, and just include pictures of them anyway. I get excited about new plants too, before I really have the complete experience.

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    1. I've never had any success with the tall-growing Campanulas until this one, Alison.

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  11. I'm a little obsessed with how beautiful that Plumeria is.

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    1. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I repotted the Plumeria this morning after discovering that the roots had already climbed through the pot into the soil underneath. Unfortunately, even though the second cutting had developed some leaves, it had no roots whatsoever and the stalk was rotting. Win one, lose another.

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  12. Congratulations on the Plumeria bloom! it is a pretty plant, both in bloom and foliage. Your campanula is lovely. I like that is seems to be standing upright without support, or do you have hidden supports in there?

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    1. There are no stakes supporting that Campanula, Deb. The flower stalks are quite sturdy and stand up without help.

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  13. Campanulas are so varied in their blooms...this is a lovely color and form of flower.

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    1. My success with this one leads me to wonder if I should try a few others, Donna. I like that 'Pink Octopus' cultivar but it looks as though it needs regular water - this one is drought tolerant.

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  14. Careful with Campanula poscharskyana. It was an aggressive thug here. I've almost got it eradicated after 15 years of effort.

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