Creeping bellflower

Invasive

Basal growth of creeping bellflower
Basal growth of creeping bellflower

Campanula rapunculoides

Don’t let the heart-shaped basal leaves and pretty blue flowers fool you – this is one tough weed and it will out-compete anything in your flowerbed. No wonder it ranks in the top 10 invasive weeds by the Canadian Council on Invasive Species.

The problem is this plant has two very powerful means of reproduction. First, it has thick, fleshy roots called rhizomes which spread and mat and crowd out other plants. Secondly, this plant produces thousands of seeds which remain viable in the soil for many years.

Here’s how to cope:

  • Pick the flowers so they don’t go to seed. They look nice in a vase.
  • Seeds need light to germinate. A thick layer of mulch will prevent germination.
  • Loosen the soil and remove as many roots as you can. (Never rototill as every tiny bit of root will result in a new plant.) Be persistent – you may have to remove roots for several growing seasons. Apply a thick layer of mulch on top of the soil.
  • Occasionally these tough roots will send up leaves even through the mulch. Stay on top of that and remove the leaves as soon as possible. No leaves mean no photosynthesis and that will help to weaken the remaining roots in the soil.
  • Herbicides like glyphosate may slow down the spread but won’t get rid of it completely.

 

Sources:

http://canadainvasives.ca/initiatives/national-horticulture-outreach-network/canadas-top-10-most-important-invasive-horticultural-plants/

Creeping bellflower. (n.d.). Alberta Invasive Species Council. Retrieved from https://abinvasives.ca/fact-sheet/creeping-bellflower/

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