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Plant Profile: Fairy’s Thimble ( Campanula cochleariifolia aka C. pusilla)

Also known as  spiral and earleaf bellflower, this rhizomatous herbaceous perennial is a member of the Campanulaceae family that also includes ladybells (Adenophora), balloon flower, and Lobelia).  It is native to the mountains of Europe including the Pyrenees, Alps, and Carpathian where it grows in the cracks in the rocks.  Plants form spreading mats of bright green nearly round leaves and produce clusters of nodding 3/4″ diameter blue-violet flowers on wiry stems in summer.  Fairy’s thimble is an excellent choice for the front of the border, containers, along pathways, or in a rock garden, wall garden, or cottage garden.  The generic name, Campanula, is the diminutive of the late Latin word campana meaning bell, and refers to the form of the flowers.  The specific epithet, cochlearifolia, comes from the Latin words cochlear, meaning spoon, and folia, meaning leaf, and refers to the shape of the leaf.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Clusters of nodding 3/4″ diameter blue-violet flowers on wiry stems in summer.

Size: 4-6″ H x 12″ W

Light:Full sun to part shade

Soil:Average, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 6-7

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: Snails, slugs

Propagation: Seed, basal cuttings

Companion Plants: Rock thyme (Acinos alpinus), Allium flavum var. minus , Dianthus microlepsis, yellow iceplant (Delosperma nubigenum ), Lewisia

Outstanding Selections:

var. alba (white flowers)

‘Miranda’ (icy blue flowers)

‘Pallida’ (blue flowers up to 1″ diameter)


Photo Credit: Ghislain 118 Wikimedia Commons