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Edraianthus - An Alternative To Bells On Alpine Slides

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Cultures with bell-shaped flowers have always had a special place in landscape design. It does not matter whether it is a modest flower bed, a colorful flower bed or a landscape composition: they always place touching accents in them and bring a surprising awe and tenderness. And no other perennial can compare to such plants in their romantic character. Bell plants are not limited to just one genus. True campanula bells have one very spectacular competitor - edraianthus, a plant designed exclusively for rockeries and alpine rockeries. As one of the most beautiful cultivars for stony gardens it is able to amaze with inimitable blossoms, beauty of greenery and strikingly rich palette of colors.

Edraianthus - an alternative to bells on alpine slides
Edraianthus dwarf (Edraianthus pumilio). © Jana Cibulkova


  • Carpet of perfect bells in a rocky landscape
  • Species and varieties of edraianthus
  • Growing edraianthus
  • Care requirements for edraianthus
  • Wintering edraianthus
  • Pest and disease control
  • Propagation of edraianthus

Carpet of perfect bells on a rocky landscape

Despite its rather narrow specialization, Edraianthus remains a plant ranked among the most beautifully flowering garden perennials. They are unique little accents that require the selection of not so much specific conditions, but a special environment. Being true kings of stone gardens, edraeanthus reveal all their decorativeness only against a background of stones.

Come to us from the Mediterranean, the plants are sometimes called not officially recognized botanical Edraianthus, but Hedraeanthus. The luxuriant bells of these flowers seem to lie on a cushion of narrow leaves, which is why the plant got its species name: from the Greek "edraianthus" - "sitting flower". Practically every plant species assigned to this genus has had other names at one time or another, they have been referred either to campanulas or to waldenburgia.

Edraianthus (Edraianthus) is a small genus of compact and almost without exception used as decorative plants, herbaceous perennials that form very long taproots and can do a good job of lush flowering in scarce conditions. But in addition to the main stem, the root system of this plant is also particularly powerful.

Mature plants because of this do not tolerate replanting, because any injury to the roots is destructive to them. But it was this type of rhizome that enabled the edraianthus in nature to survive in rock cracks and limestone rocks practically without soil, and in garden culture to adapt to any poor, dry and loose soil.

Edraianthus forms compact cushions of leaf rosettes and develops into dense green bushes. All edraeanthus are characterized by very narrow, elongated, grass-like linear leaves, to which varying degrees of pubescence give either a bright green or a silvery gray color.

Flowers in all without exception members of the genus are bell-shaped. They may open both one by one and in heads of inflorescences. The color palette of the plant is limited to the blue spectrum with slight shades of purple. Such dazzling shades of ultraviolet and sky-blue colors are found only in gentians besides edraianthus.

Species and varieties of edraianthus

Edraianthus dalmaticus (Edraianthus dalmaticus) is a relatively modest in size, but by no means modest in bloom, perennial. The height of linear leaves assembled in bunches-rosettes with cilia along the edge is limited to only 50 cm. But the modest greenery by no means hinders the appreciation of the beauty of flowering of this species. Blue-purple bellflowers, up to 2 cm in diameter, which are arranged in clusters of up to 10 flowers, look wonderfully tender and water-colored. This edraianthus blooms in mid-summer.

Edraianthus - an alternative to bells on alpine slides
Edraianthus dalmaticus. © Mihai Costea

Edraianthus dwarf (Edraianthus pumilio) is a miniature plant in all but flower size. The needle-shaped leaves are only 2 cm long and form a strikingly dense mass, gathering in root rosettes and growing in cushions. The bell-shaped flowers, on the other hand, are light and delicate lilac in color and reach 2.5 cm in diameter.

Standing out by the perfect shape of the corolla petals, sitting on very short and twisted upward flower stalks, they seem to lie on a cushion of leaves, arranged by the caring hand of the florist. The luxuriant flowering of this plant, which has no foliage under its flowers in good seasons, continues in June and July.

Edraianthus - an alternative to bells on alpine slides
Edraianthus dwarf (Edraianthus pumilio). © helki

Edraianthus graminifolius (Edraianthus graminifolius) is a very striking representative of the genus Edraianthus with narrow, linear dark-colored leaves that grow in tufts resembling the turf of cereals. The leaves are up to 10 cm long. Due to the fact that the stems of the plant extend in a circle, growing in all directions, the alpine edraianthus forms a very beautiful bush.

Flowers of this plant are collected in dense bunches-zones of 3-7 pieces. The bell-shaped flower is visible only from a close distance. The originality of the plant is given by the inversely curved ends of the corolla petals. This edraianthus blooms late, in July and August.

Edraianthus - an alternative to bells on alpine slides
Edraianthus graminifolius. © Kor!An

Edraianthus parnassicus (Edraianthus parnassicus) is quite unlike the previous species. This Greek plant forms more powerful bushes and adorns itself with spatulate or oval leaves, not narrow, 4 cm wide and up to 11 cm long. The dazzling amethyst flowers are gathered together in heads of inflorescences and in summer appear as a magic vision, acting as a luxurious decoration of any site.

Edraianthus - an alternative to bells on alpine slides
Edraianthus parnassicus (Edraianthus parnassicus). © oiti

Edraianthus creeping (Edraianthus serpyllifolius) offers admiration for the almost perfect shade of ultramarine color of the flowers. They are solitary, large, up to 2.5 cm in diameter and not quite usually arranged. The peduncles blossom on the outer circumference of the cushion, so that the flowers like a wreath surround the leaves. With a bush height of just over 10 cm, this edraianthus forms a cushion 30 cm in diameter. The lanceolate, smooth leaves with a hairy edge in a "wreath" look especially advantageous.

Edraianthus - an alternative to bells on alpine slides
Edraianthus serpyllifolius. © Vladislav Piatek

Edraianthus serpyllifolius (Edraianthus serbicus) is a perennial with purple-blue flowers, capable of reaching 3 cm in length and collected in large inflorescent heads. The shoots are beautifully raised, only accentuating the beauty of the lanceolate leaves up to 9 cm long. It is rightly considered one of the most exquisite plants for the rockery.

Edraianthus - an alternative to bells on alpine slides
Edraianthus serbicus (Edraianthus serbicus). © beranekp

Edraianthus serbicus is used in decorative horticulture:

  • in natural plantings in rockeries and alpinaries;
  • as a summer-flowering soloist in alpine rockeries;
  • for decoration of crevices and large boulders;
  • for creating a water effect in large rockeries;
  • for blue accents in stony gardens;
  • for decorating stone walls and masonry;
  • in mobile mini-alpinaries and rock gardens;
  • as a potted plant.

Best partners for edraianthus: dwarf conifers, fescues, fescue, but it looks best surrounded by stones and stone chips, decorative soil.

Growing edraianthus

The requirements for soil cultural edraianthus completely inherits from its wild relatives. Plants can settle only in soil with an alkaline reaction, but the main thing in selecting a suitable location is to provide a well-drained soil with a loose texture, in addition rich in calcium.

These cultures feel well only in poor and dry soil, ideal for stony-sandy soils. It is possible to recreate conditions for these plants only in alpinaries and rockeries. In order to avoid stagnant water in winter, it is better to lay additional drainage on the place of planting (the creation of a drainage layer will help the plant to cope with prolonged autumn rains, and with meltwater in spring).

Select the location in a rockery and rock gardens for edraianthus should be careful: these plants settle in the garden for decades, they will not be replanted in the absence of soil or if desired. Therefore, mistakes are unacceptable. It should also be taken into account that all larger, with a height of 10 cm or more, edraianthus should be planted in a sufficiently spacious place, keeping in mind that the plant will expand, increase the volume of the cushions with age.

Traditionally, the edraeanthus is placed so that the plant gets a kind of support (visual and not only), being placed between large stones or at the retaining wall, at the edge of terrace levels.

Lighting for edraeanthus is easy enough to choose. These plants do not tolerate the midday sun very well at the flowering stage, but prefer sunny locations with morning and evening sun and the brightest possible light. Even near large boulders and cracks and between stones in dry masonry can be planted as well as in places which provide the slight shade the plant needs.

Edraianthus also adapts to light shade, but does not like strong shade. It affects, first of all, not the beauty of leaves, but flowering of plants - the size of flowers and their number.

Please also read this. Plants for ponds

Potted plants are planted in a mixture of sand and universal substrate in equal parts with the addition of perlite or vermiculite. Drainage should be about 1/3 of the container. © Pavel Holik

Care requirements for edraianthus

Edraianthus belongs to the most drought-resistant crops and needs practically no care. During flowering in prolonged droughts the plants can be watered with rainwater once in 10-15 days to prolong flowering time.

Fertilizers for culture are traditionally made also in summer period, having just one single procedure exactly for amplification of flowering (using standard doses of potassium-phosphoric fertilizers or special compositions for flowering crops). But if you're satisfied with an average flowering or fertile soil enough, you can do without care at all.

Potted edraeyantus need regular watering, between which give the substrate to dry out, and fertilizing with a frequency of 1 every 2 weeks.

Wintering of edraianthus

In winter, most edraianthus are content with modest mulching or can do without covering at all. The exception is Edraianthus dalmaticus, which before the onset of cold weather should be covered with air-dry method.

For all other species mulching with dry leaves is preferable, and better - covering with coniferous lapniks to reduce the risk of water stagnation and under leaf blotting.

Pest and disease control

Edraianthus is one of the most disease- and pest-resistant crops suitable for stone gardens. If the substrate is overwatered and there is no drainage, the plants may suffer from various types of rot. In rare cases, potted plants suffer from spider mites, with which it is better to fight by spraying insecticides.

Propagation of edraianthus

The edraianthus is multiplied by both vegetative methods and seeds. And the latter can either be sown in February along with the first annuals in seedlings, or sown under the winter directly in a permanent place with mulching of leaves, or use active self-sowing around the plant as seedlings.

The planting method is the most complicated. Edraianthus seeds need stratification for 2 months (they are kept in cold conditions, at about 3 degrees of heat). Sowing is carried out shallow, in a sifted nutritious and very light substrate, under the film. After the emergence of seedlings it is necessary to take into account their capriciousness, immediately remove the film or glass and provide the plants with light uniform watering, as bright light as possible and no overwatering.

Cultivate plants as seedlings and potted plants for several years is not necessary (unless you plan to grow edraianthus exactly in containers), conduct transplanting to a permanent place as soon as possible, without destroying the soil lump: these plants do not like transplants very much. When planting the edraianthus in the soil in a permanent position, it should be taken into account that these cultures will flower only in the second or third year.

In vegetative methods, reproduction by root cuttings, which are separated together with the heel and rooted under a hood in a nutrient substrate, and multiplication by splitting the bush in spring are suitable for edraianthus. The main, mother plant is not touched, but only the young, not yet deep-rooted lateral leaf rosettes are carefully dug up.

Such dividers can still die if the rhizome is injured and are very poorly adapted, requiring very careful care. It is more productive to propagate by offshoots, which appear especially easily in spring with strong shoots, and fix them in the soil followed by regular moistening (but not excessive).