Symphyandra hoffmannii ~ an uncommon plant

 
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. 2843353664_3393a4797a_oIn 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.

42 thoughts on “Symphyandra hoffmannii ~ an uncommon plant

  1. Estrella says:

    Hi kate. Good morning. Thanks for this beautiful flower I have never seen it.
    See you have a nice day. Here it is raining again.

  2. jardineira aprendiz says:

    Beautiful plant, Kate, I didn’t know it, thank you for showing it. Being native to Bosnia, it will probably grow here also.
    Happy Easter!

  3. Selma says:

    I used to have a nightlight like that when I was a girl but I didn’t realise until now what plant it was. It was nice to think of it again!

  4. nikkipolani says:

    Kate! A bullet-proof plant if ever was one! I love it that it keeps going despite crushings, seasons, soil, neglect…. happy spring to you!

  5. Cris says:

    What a beatiful plant Kate, so delicate, so pure.
    Here I’ve already had Campanula, maybe a relative?
    It’s wonderfull to know that you are already having flowers in your garden.

  6. Shady Gardener says:

    Hi Kate. I thought it perhaps was a campanula until I read your final comments… It’s very pretty. I’d think if YOU could grow it, I surely should be able to. πŸ™‚ Yea, Spring!!! I’m glad it’s finally arriving for you.

  7. Barbara says:

    I wonder why we do not get this plant here. It should be perfect for our climate too. Maybe it is sold without the latin name and we perhaps name it “campanula” ;-)! It really looks like a sort of campanula (which I like very much!).

  8. kerri says:

    Hello dear Kate! So lovely to hear from you! Isn’t it exciting to see our first spring blooms? Your Symphyandra hoffmannii is beautiful, and does look very much like a campanula. I’d love to add such a tough plant to my garden and will keep my eyes open for it.
    Are you sticking to your resolve to not start any seedlings? I have far too many growing upstairs under lights πŸ™‚

  9. kerri says:

    Hello dear Kate! So lovely to hear from you! Isn’t it exciting to see our first spring blooms? Your Symphyandra hoffmannii is beautiful, and does look very much like a campanula. I’d love to add such a tough plant to my garden and will keep my eyes open for it.
    Are you sticking to your resolve to not start any seedlings? I have far too many growing upstairs under lights πŸ™‚

  10. Gail says:

    Hi Kate, I have never heard of this sweet flower before…unless it has a common name and is here everywhere! Probably not…it might not be happy in the middle south with our heat and humidity! I have copied and pasted the name…no way can i recall the spelling. Memories of special gardens are sweet…I do wish you could have a magnolia! Gail

  11. dinahmow says:

    It must be a condition of the human psyche to want what we cannot have.And then, in accepting the “cannots” to seek out alternatives.This delicate flower does seem happy across a wide range, but not tropical, I’m afraid!
    I have just potted-up a tiny cutting of Iboza, whose scent takes me back to my grandmother’s flowering currants.And lilac? Hopeless here, but I have Melia azaderach which sort-of works. If I squint. Sort-of.
    πŸ™‚

  12. wiseacre says:

    Late summer bloomers are always welcome.
    I love Kerria japonica but so far I’ve had poor luck with them. I keep trying and one of these days one will take. You must have had a protected spot in Ottawa since the winters up here are just a little too tough on them.

  13. Aiyana says:

    It is a very pretty plant, and one I’ve never heard of. Not that that is unusual, I really don’t know much about plants outside my region, so it’s always fun to learn about new ones, whether they would grow here or not.
    Aiyana

  14. Sarah Laurence says:

    It’s amazing what will bloom in the most hostile environments. Good plant to know about. Interesting about the Bosnia origin. I just blog reviewed People of the Book which is a novel about the Sarajevo Haggadah. These random alignments in cyberspace delight me.

  15. Annie in Austin says:

    Symphyandra hoffmannii looks lovely in your photos, Kate – and is probably just as lovely in your garden. I looked it up in my Perennials for American Gardens book and read that it’s closely related to campanulas, and very cold tolerant, but can’t live where summers are hot and humid. Guess that leaves out the Austin garden bloggers!
    I hope you find many rosettes this spring, a small consolation for living without magnolias.
    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  16. Chigiy Binell says:

    I love the look of your little errant plant.
    Plants like this are great.It has found it’s perfect little niche in life and giant brown dogs won’t even discourage it.

  17. Tatyana says:

    It’s a good question, why isn’t this plant better known! I’ve never heard of it. I suppose it should grow well here in the Pacific NW if it does well in Canada. Thanks for telling about it and for the lovely picture. Also, Kate, thanks for your comments on my blog. I’ve learned recently (!) that people in Russia (and maybe in other places, too) can say Happy Easter or – Christ is risen! – Risen, indeed! – for 40 days after the actual Easter date! So, your Happy Easter greeting is not belated! Thank you!!!

  18. Robin says:

    That is a sweet flower and beautifully photographed! Your tulip pictures are beautiful too!
    Thank you for your thoughts and sweet comment regarding my dad.

  19. joey says:

    Thanks for introducing us to Symphyandra hoffmannii ~ a true ‘unknown’ beauty’, Kate. I love white and can see her happy in my garden πŸ™‚

  20. Joy says:

    Hello Kate !! How are you : ) … I hope the weather is calming down out there for you .. what a winter this has been .. Spring has really yet to settle here.
    I would have guessed it was in the campanula family too. I haven’t heard of this plant before .. it looks nice and I am always on the look out for a good solid white flower .. thanks !

  21. quu says:

    In Finland this plant may be more perennial than biennal. I have it in my garden too – very delicate flowers and plant get bushy and quite big if living in moist place. Plant lives in my white garden among other white flowered plants.
    I also bought Black Out-lilies πŸ˜‰ Lets’s see if we get the same kind of plant. Sometimes label and plant don’t match at all. But sometimes suprises are better!
    See ya πŸ™‚
    quu from Finland

  22. Pamela says:

    Hi Kate. I popped over to see what’s blooming your way and aren’t these little bells gorgeous. Have not seen them over here. Also wanted a look at your clematis on Sept 11 post 2007, but no pics now. Shame.

  23. Terra says:

    Oh, I am always on the lookout for any flower that looks like a bell and now want to plant some of these. I do love campanula which this resembles.

  24. CurtissAnn says:

    And you are making the bellflower more known. Thank you! I cannot say the correct name, but perhaps I will remember bellflower. πŸ™‚

  25. Karine Swenson says:

    Hello Kate!
    As always, I savor your beautiful flower photographs. I am slowly catching up on blog reading. I’ve missed you! I feel the same way you do about planting seeds. I have an idea in my mind of a painting of a giant seed, called “Potential”. So many ideas, so little time.

  26. Miranda Bell says:

    Hi Kate – high time I paid your blog a visit – I know it’s been ages… funny to see posting (lovely photo by the way!) – infact we had some Symphyandra in our garden when we got here – under all the undergrowth – so last year I grew some on from the previous year’s seed and now have some new plants which will hopefully flower this year… what colour they will be is a surprise! I agree they’re beautiful flowers… have a good weekend Miranda x

  27. anna maria says:

    Well, I am so happy I learned about it from you!
    Sounds lovely, and since I’m in a plant crazed mood lately, I’m going to look it up and see if I can get my hands on one, or two, or …

  28. angelina says:

    What a gorgeous flower- I’ve never heard of it before but now I want some! Can it be cut and vased? I didn’t used to love white flowers but over time I’ve come to value them for their brightness and they always make me think of my mother and her “moonlight” garden full of white blossoms- mostly night bloomers. Lovely!

  29. Terri A. says:

    Unbelievable bellflower…I have a lot of experience growing orchids, roses, and other plants but I think it may be time to pick this one up.
    This photo makes me think of orchid lights as well…such beautiful memories…
    Feel free to visit my new site for tips on growing flowers – specifically orchids πŸ™‚ Happy Growing…

  30. orchid lights says:

    Your flowers are so lovely and thank you for sharing it to us. But may I add also that knowing the exact sunlight needs of our chosen orchid plant necessitates a good amount of knowledge of the species our orchid belongs to. Finding the right information about our orchid plant’s requirement for light requires us to undertake several tasks. Firsthand information can come from the orchid seller or orchid store where we bought your orchids. πŸ™‚

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