How to get rid of Campanula (Creeping Bellflower)

(Question)

Hello, I have lots of campunella which are covering almost the whole front yard. Should I get rid of all of them? First I thought they are ground cover but they are co ering all other plants. If I need to get rid of them what is the best way? Thank you

(Answer)

I believe you are referring to Campanula rapunculoides (creeping bellflower), which is an invasive perennial that grows in most soils, in sun or shade, doesn’t care if conditions are wet or dry, reseeds and spreads via root fragments and rhizomes.  The roots are taproots – long and slim –  and can extend quite deeply into the soil.

Some gardeners enjoy the plant and rather than removing it, let it thrive in areas where other plants might not grow – while being careful to keep it from spreading too much.  However, in your case, it sounds like the other plants in your yard are suffering because of the invasive creeping bellflower — you likely will want to get rid of this invasive.  It is extremely difficult to control or eradicate, but here are some strategies to consider:

  • When new shoots pop up, remove them, along with as much of the root as possible.  New plants are the easiest ones to remove.
  • Dig or pull roots, removing as much of the root as possible – the roots can be quite deep. It is much easier to pull weeds when the soil is wet – e.g., after a rain or after watering.
  • Deadhead flowers and cut off seed heads to prevent self-seeding
  • Don’t compost any of the plant parts as they will sprout new plants. Discard them in garbage bins.
  • When you purchase new plants, watch for little bellflower seedlings that might be hitching a ride in the container – and remove them.
  • If you buy wildflower seed mixes, make sure they don’t contain Campanula rapunculoides. 

The biggest challenge in getting rid of the  plants is that all the root fragments must be removed or more of the weeds will emerge.  It may take lots of time and a few years to get rid of the plant – be persistent and patient.

Here’s a good overview of the plant and how to control it: Alberta Invasive Species Council Creeping Bellflower 

All the best in controlling or eradicating those pesky bellflowers!