Symphyandra hoffmannii has been one of my favourite plants ever since I first planted it in my garden in Ottawa. It is a prolific self-seeder, but I am okay with that. In spring, I simply pull out the rosettes that are growing too close to one another. This is an easy task, since the plants have shallow roots.
Before I moved back to Saskatchewan, I gathered some seeds and sowed them in my garden here. They are some of the first plants to appear in spring and always bring back memories of my Ottawa garden in spring. I can picture the two Magnolia trees that put on such a stunning show and I delight in remembering the Kerria japonica and their cheerful blooms. Visions of my beautiful Rhodendron 'Orchid Lights' drift through my mind. These spring beauties are particularly poignant memories because I cannot grow any them here.
Although Symphyandra is considered a biennial, I have yet to have a summer without their delicate and beautiful blooms. One of the distinct advantages of these plants is that their nodding white bell-shaped flowers bloom in late summer and last for ages. Another feature in their favour is that they will grow in virtually any soil in a sunny location or in a partially-shaded one. They also remain remarkably free of any diseases or pests.
Last summer, I was pleased to see one errant plant thriving among the bricks of my back patio. It survived repeated crushings by my big brown dog who has always loved napping against a nearby rock.
As you can tell from this photograph, the blooms of the Symphyandra bear a close resemblance to those in the Campanula family. No doubt this is where they received their common name of ring (or ringed) bellflower. From what I've unearthed, they are native to Bosnia.
I have yet to understand why Symphyandra hoffmannii is not a better-known plant.