I Recommend These Eye Catching Bell-Shaped Flowers

This list was compiled by gardener Hannah Miller and reviewed by horticulturist Elizabeth Smith. Published to Ideas on the 12th March 2023.

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I feel that bell-shaped flowers are some of the most elegant and recognizable blooms in my garden. They have a characteristic shape, which gives them a unique appearance and makes them stand out from the other flowers. The plants I’ve listed below come in various colours, from soft pastels to bold and bright hues, making them a versatile addition to any garden.

Did you know that many bell-shaped flowers offer much more than aesthetics? They also help to guide pollinators such as bees and butterflies to the nectar inside the blooms.

In this guide, I’ll list my favourite bell-shaped flowers, provide you with stunning images and key facts and, as a bonus, I’ll also tell you about my experience of growing them.

English Bluebells

First on my list of bell-shaped flowers is the mighty English bluebell. These low-level nodding flowers can create a carpet of purple spring flowering blooms if left to naturalise in a wooded area. I’ve also seen them grow well in the front of borders and in containers.

Key points:

  • I’ve seen them thrive in soil that’s rich in organic matter, as you would find in a wooded area.
  • Avoid the Spanish variety if you live in the UK, as they outcompete the English bluebells and have the potential to wipe out the native plants.
  • I’ve seen them become a nuisance, so only grow them where you can contain them or try them in containers.
  • You can plant them in the autumn, and they will flower in the spring, but I’ve found that they can take a few years before the first blooms appear.
  • Bluebells are a low-maintenance plant, and I only feed them fertiliser because I’m growing them in pots, but I do occasionally water them when it’s hot.

My experience:

I’ve never grown them in a border, but I’ve had them in two large containers for several years. I love how they bloom early in the year, just after the snowdrops and around about the same time as my daffodils. I chose “in the green” bluebells, which bloomed the second year after I planted them. I know from friends and colleagues that bluebell bulbs can take up to 3-6 years to produce flowers.

Read our guide to growing bluebells here.

A cluster of bluebell flowers

A stunning cluster of bell-shaped bluebell flowers

Closeup of bluebell flower

A closeup photo of a bluebell bloom

Daffodils

What I like most about daffodils is the sheer number of varieties, with some blooming early and others late; the gardener can create a space where the yellow bell-shaped flowers are visible for months. I also see daffodils as a sort of bellwether – a sign that spring is here and soon, the cold mornings will be a thing of the past.

Key points:

  • I’ve found that they come back reliably, year after year, unlike tulips.
  • Some bloom from early February, while other varieties last into April.
  • One of the most low-maintenance plants I’ve grown; I rarely lift mine, and they always perform well.
  • I’ve had great results with them in my borders and pots over the years.
  • If they start to grow smaller after a few years, just lift them, dig in fresh compost and plant them back in. I’ve done this a few times, and they bounced right back.

My experience:

I’ve been growing daffodils for years in my borders and also my containers, and I’ve found that bigger containers are better for them. I’ve had great results mixing late daffodils with early tulips, and I’ve seen them blend in well with most other early spring bulbous plants.

Start with our guide to growing daffodils.

Pair of wild daffodils

Daffodils – I took this photo in the first week of March

Wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) closeup

A closeup of the bell-shaped flower

Campanula

Campanula, also known as bellflower, is a beautiful and versatile plant that is a must-have for any gardener looking to add colour and interest to their garden. Its iconic bell-shaped flowers traditionally range from blue to purple, but I’ve also seen pinks and whites in recent years. Campanula is a favourite of mine, and I’ve grown it under my rose bushes, where it covered the bare soil and added much-needed interest.

Key points:

  • Bell or star-shaped flowers.
  • They bloom from spring into summer.
  • Perfect for under taller shrubs.
  • Can be annuals, herbaceous or evergreen perennials.
  • I’ve grown them as a cushion in borders, and mine grew to 0.5m high by 0.4m wide, but they can grow taller, up to 0.8m, I believe.
  • I’ve seen them in cottage gardens and also in rockeries and around boulders.

My experience:

I’ve had wonderful results with campanula at my previous property, where I had a row of roses that looked a bit bare at the base. The Campanula filled the space quickly, were easy to maintain and while they did set seed, I never found them invasive.

Purple campanula bellflower closeup

Closeup of Campanula bellflower

Campanula growing next to boulders

Campanula growing next to boulders

Foxgloves

No list of bell-shaped flowers would be complete without Foxgloves, which are a classic tall tubular biennial (sometimes perennial) plant. I’ve grown these in the middle of my borders, where they produced tall stems containing dozens of blooms, mostly blue and purple with white spots. Pinks and whites are also popular.

Key points:

  • Perfect for cottage gardens, they flower in early summer.
  • Biennials flower in the second year, set seeds and then die off.
  • Perennials will need to be pruned back in the autumn.
  • Foxgloves can grow tall, and I’ve found they perform best in the middle or the back of a border.
  • I never found Foxgloves difficult to grow, but I only grew them in dappled shade, which is their preferred habitat.

My experience with Foxgloves:

I had several Foxgloves at my previous home, and while they were a delight to grow, I had to remove them as they are extremely poisonous, and I had a young dog that loved eating grass and sometimes my garden plants. Foxgloves are so toxic that even a small amount could kill a dog and larger amounts, a human. I’ve seen them grown in cottage gardens, where they performed best in dappled shade and good nutrient-rich soil.

Foxgloves growing in the back of a border

Foxgloves growing in the back of a border

Closeup of Foxgloves

Closeup of Foxgloves

Fuchsias

Fuchsias are another favourite of mine, and I have two varieties in containers next to my front door. They die back to ground level in the winter and reappear in spring and early summer, producing blooms up to the first frosts. Most of the fuchsias sold in garden centres struggle at the first frost, and many gardeners grow them as annuals, tossing them away at the end of autumn. Full hardy fuchsias can survive a UK winter with minimal stem loss, but by pruning back some of the stems, gardeners can encourage new growth.

Key points:

  • The stems on my fuchsias are upright but arch under the weight of the flowers, which dangle in pairs.
  • I love the dangling flowers, and I can’t think of another flower that’s similar.
  • I’ve never had issues with pests or diseases and always found them easy to grow.
  • They perform well in containers and borders.
  • Mine produce red outer blooms with purple inner flowers. Long stamens dangle from the blooms.

My experience with Fuchsias:

I first grew fuchsias in hanging baskets, but they died off in the winter and didn’t come back; I’ve since got my hands on a pair of fuchsias that are doing really well in my containers. After 5 years, they still come back in the spring after dying back to ground level in winter. I feed them fertiliser once a month and water them to stop the compost from drying out, but other than that, I’ve found them very low maintenance.

Blooms on a fuchsia shrub in a pot

A pair of fuchsia blooms

Fuchsias in red and purple

The stamens are of particular interest

Snowdrops

Snowdrops are one of the earliest flowering bulbs, and I’ve seen them thrive in shaded spots in woodland, sheltered borders and even in pots. I recently started adding them to my winter hanging baskets and containers, and they come into bloom just as the other plants start to fade.

Key points:

  • In my garden, I’ve found them easy to grow and unbothered by pests or diseases.
  • They grow up to 15cm/6″, so are perfect for the front of borders or packing out pots and baskets in winter.
  • Snowdrops bloom from late January into early March.
  • Grow “in the green” plants if you want to see flowers quickly, or buy bulbs if you’re patient enough to wait for them to mature.
  • I’ve grown them with violas, winter pansies, hellebores and early short daffodils.

My experience with Snowdrops:

Fed up with a dull, colourless garden in the winter, I started growing winter baskets, pots and troughs to add some sparkle. I chose Snowdrops as they’re so reliable and require no special care, and they pop up through the other plants I’ve chosen. If you want to add bell-shaped flowers to your winter garden, try Snowdrops.

Read: How to grow Snowdrops.

Snowdrops in a woodland

I took this photo in the first week of March

bell-shaped flowers on snowdrops

A closeup of a Snowdrop bloom

Grape Hyacinth

Grape hyacinth, which is also known as Muscari, is a popular low-growing plant that I’ve found easy to grow in my UK garden. Grown from bulbs, it produces slender spikes of small, bell-shaped flowers in shades of blue, purple, and white. These small, delicate blooms resemble clusters of grapes, and I think they look stunning when planted en masse or in drifts. They’re perfect for naturalizing in rock gardens or planting in large borders, and they thrive in well-drained soil with full to partial sun.

Key points:

  • They grow to around 15cm/6″ and can be planted 5-10cm apart to create a dense, colourful display.
  • I’ve found that the best location for grape hyacinths is in full sun or partial shade, and they seem to thrive in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter.
  • Popular locations include; borders, rock gardens and as formal edgings.
  • My grape hyacinths flower from mid to late spring.

My experience with grape hyacinths:

I’ve grown grape hyacinths in my borders, where they mixed well with late daffodils, early tulips and other bulbous plants and early starters. I’ve also grown them in pots and have never had issues with pests or diseases.

Learn: how to grow grape hyacinths.

A clsuter of grape hyacinths

A cluster of grape hyacinths

Blue and purple grape hyacinths

Bell-shaped purple blooms

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is a classic woodland plant that produces dainty, bell-shaped white flowers and spreads easily by rhizomes. I’ve seen it thrive in moist, well-draining soil, and despite seeing some gardeners growing it in full sun, I’ve only ever witnessed it perform well in partial to full shade. This fragrant plant blooms in late spring and is perfect for naturalizing in a woodland garden or as a ground cover in shaded parts of the garden.

Key points:

  • Height and Width: My Lily of the Valley plants grew to a height of around 22 cm (9 inches), and they spread rapidly by rhizomes, where they formed dense carpets up to 30 cm (12 inches) wide.
  • Colours: Lily of the Valley produces delicate, bell-shaped flowers that are usually white, although I’ve seen some cultivars recently with pink or pale yellow flowers.
  • Fragrance: The sweet fragrance of Lily of the Valley is one of its most distinctive characteristics and makes it a popular choice for fragrance gardens and bouquets alike.
  • Companion Plants: This plant goes well with other shade-loving perennials such as ferns, hostas, and astilbes. It can also be used to fill in gaps in woodland gardens.
  • Issues: I had a case of crown rot at my previous property, which was most likely due to the soil being too moist. Lily of the Valley prefers well-drained soil.

My experience with Lily of the Valley:

I grew Lily of the Valley in my shaded borders a number of years ago, and apart from a bout of crown rot, they performed well and stood up well in the wind too. I removed them as they can be toxic, and I now have a dog that seems to like chewing anything he can get his chops on!

White bell-shaped flowers on Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

Bells of Ireland

Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis) are tall, upright annual plants with bright green, bell-shaped sepals that encircle small white flowers. In my garden, Bells of Ireland grew up to 3 feet tall and preferred full sun with well-drained soil. These plants add height and texture to a garden and are often found in cut flower arrangements. They also attract pollinators, and I saw plenty of bees and butterflies show an interest in them.

Key points:

  • I found them challenging to grow from seed and it took several rounds and a week in the freezer too.
  • They bloomed about 12 weeks after germination ( late June to September).
  • I grew them as annuals and used them in floral arrangements before they had the chance to set seed but they may spread in ideal conditions.
  • They dislike extremes of heat and sudden changes in temperature and mine struggled in the 2022 UK summer heatwave.

My experience with Bells of Ireland:

I grew these for two years, each time from seed, and while I found it challenging to get the seeds to germinate, the foliage was well worth the wait. Bells of Ireland are a wonderful foliage plant that stood tall in my garden and added much-needed vertical interest. While I never had any issues with the wind, I think in a windy spot, they may require staking.

Bells of Ireland closeup

Bells of Ireland are a classic vertical foliage plant.

Bell Heather

Bell Heathers (Erica cinerea) are low-growing evergreen shrubs that are native to the UK. They produce a profusion of small, bell-shaped flowers in shades of pink, purple, or white, which I’ve seen bloom from midsummer to early autumn. These plants have needle-like leaves that are often bronze or reddish in colour, which I feel adds year-round interest. Bell Heathers prefer acidic soils and are well-suited to cool and damp conditions, such as those in the north of the UK. I’ve seen gardeners grow them in rock gardens, borders, and as groundcover.

Key points:

  • They perform best in acidic free-draining soil.
  • While mostly pest and disease-free, the roots may rot of the soil is too moist.
  • Mine grew to 40cm/15″ tall and spread up to 60cm/23″.
  • I’ve seen them blend well with other heathers and ornamental grasses.

My experience with Bell Heathers:

I grew these in the front garden of my previous property as the soil was naturally acidic. I mixed them with grasses and other heathers with other acid-loving plants at the rear of the border.

Bell Heather - Erica cinerea

Bell Heathers thrive in heathland and acidic soil

Coral Bells

Coral bells, or Heuchera, are herbaceous perennials that have attractive, scalloped leaves and come in a range of colours, from green to bronze to purple, and produce delicate spikes of tiny bell-shaped flowers in late spring to early summer. I’ve always found Coral bells are relatively low-maintenance and grow best in part shade to full sun in well-drained soil.

Key points:

  • Coral bells grow best in part shade to full sun, and they require well-drained soil.
  • Coral bells are prized for their attractive foliage, which comes in a range of colours, from green to bronze to purple. I’ve even seen some cultivars have variegated or silver-edged leaves.
  • I’ve found them relatively low-maintenance plants that require little pruning or fertilization. However, they can benefit from occasional division to prevent overcrowding.
  • They grow to a height of 30-60 cm (12-24 inches) and a width of 30-60 cm (12-24 inches), although some cultivars can grow taller or wider.

My experience with Coral bells:

I’ve only grown them in containers and mostly for their foliage and I’ve never had any issues with diseases or pests beyond slugs. I’ve seen other gardeners grow them successfully with hostas, tiarella, bleeding hearts and lungworts.

Coral bells foliage and bell-shaped flowers in a pot

Coral bells foliage and bell-shaped flowers in a pot

Coral bells on upright stems

Coral bells on upright stems

Tulips

No list of bell-shaped flowers would be complete without tulips, which are a spring favourite of mine. There are dozens of cultivars to choose from, and you’ll be rewarded with an explosion of colours from these distinctive bulbous plants.

Key points:

  • Early bloomers flower in late march and early April, while late starters flower into May.
  • Largely pest free.
  • A garden classic.
  • Grow in borders and pots.

My experience with tulips:

While I love tulips, I do have a major issue with them; they are rarely good for more than one year. Here in the UK, tulips grow back very small in the second year and often in the third year, they don’t come back at all, this is due to the climate here, which isn’t ideal for tulips. I’ve stopped growing them for this reason and because I’m trying to grow plants that are better suited to the UK’s climate, but I still love tulips and always will.

Multi-coloured tulips
Tulips collection

Trumpet Vines

Trumpet vines (Campsis radicans) are a fast-growing, climbing plant that produces vibrant, trumpet/bell shaped flowers in shades of red, orange, or yellow. They can grow up to 30 feet (9m) tall and spread up to 15 feet (4.5m) wide, making them an excellent choice for covering fences, trellises, or walls. Trumpet vines are easy to grow and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, but they may require some maintenance to prevent them from becoming a nuisance.

Key points:

  • They bloom from mid-summer to early autumn.
  • They delight with trumpet/bell shaped flowers in red, orange, or yellow
  • I’ve seen gardeners grow them to cover walls and fences quickly.
  • Be careful, as they can become invasive.

My experience with trumpet vines:

I’ve never grown trumpet vines, but my neighbour at my previous home had two covering his south-facing wall, and he told me that he had to aggressively prune them each year to keep them in check as they had a tendency to smoother out other plants.

Trumpet vines covering a wall

Trumpet vines covering a wall

Closeup of trumpet vine bell-shaped flower

Closeup of trumpet vine bell-shaped flower

Allium Tripedale

This is one of the more unusual alliums, and I saw this at a garden show two years ago but have never grown it myself. I really liked the drooping bell-shaped blooms, which were a mix of white and pink.

Key points:

  • Prefers full sun but will tolerate a little shade.
  • An unusual allium as the blooms droop.
  • Flowers with most other ornamental alliums in May and into June.
  • Height: up to 90cm/3ft

My experience:

None, but I saw it at a flower and garden show, and the bell-shaped blooms caught my eye.

Austrian Clematis

Austrian Clematis, also known as Clematis alpina, is a stunning climbing plant that can add colour and interest to any garden. With its delicate, bell-shaped flowers in shades of blue, purple, and pink, it creates a beautiful display in the spring. This low-maintenance plant is easy to grow and can thrive in various soil conditions. I’ve seen it trained to climb over trellises, around tree trunks, and along fences.

Key points:

  • 4cm bell-shaped flowers on display in mid to late spring.
  • Decidious.
  • Grows up to 8ft/2.5m with a spread of 5 foot/1.5m.

I’ve grown clematis before and they can be evergreen or decidious so choose one that suits your needs. I’ve always found them easy to grow but the base should be kept moist, cool and away from direct sunlight.

Clematis Alpina

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Meet The Author: Hannah Miller

Hannah is a former NHS administrator, mother of two and keen qualified gardener who loves growing new plants and experimenting in the garden.

She enjoys gardening as much as she cares about the environment and likes to share her knowledge with others.

This year is all about pollinators, and Hannah has set herself the goal of only buying new plants that attract pollinators; she aims to make the garden as bee and butterfly friendly as possible.

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Hannah Miller has been a gardening enthusiast for over 12 years and has a level 3 qualification in horticulture. She's constantly growing new plants and frequently writes for us.

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