Bell Flower

The pretty bell-shaped flowers of Wahlenbergia, which vary from mauve to very pale blue or even white, are held on long slender stems which dance in the breeze during Summer.  It is quite common in the Midlands grassland and is flowering profusely at the moment, with each flower lasting a few days. The long flower stalks often droop at the top while the flowers are still in bud, but straighten up as the flowers open.

There are about 135 species of Wahlenbergia in South Africa, part of the Campanulaceae or Canterbury Bell family.  Usually about 1.5 cm across, each delicate flower has five soft petals with a darker vein running from the tip of the petal to the centre, probably to guide the pollinating bees to the nectar.

In the garden, it looks wonderful planted in a raised bed, where the plants can be admired close-up but it is also a fabulous addition to natural looking bed of grasses and bulbs. Wahlenbergia will grow in full sun to semi-shade, requires good drainage with regular watering in summer. During winter the plants go dormant and new growth shoots up in spring. Plants are very easy to propagate from seed, with thousands of seeds released from the seed capsule once flowering is over.

Click on any of the links below to see another Dargle wildflower