What Is Creeping Bellflower?
Creeping Bellflower (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a common plant found throughout most of the United States. It grows from ground level to two feet high with white flowers that are pinkish red at their tips. They grow along roadsides, sidewalks, driveways and other open areas where they can blend into the landscape.
The name “creepy” comes from its habit of spreading out and creeping along the ground. The plants have no stems or branches, but instead spread out like vines. They will often hang down over fences and walls to reach under them. They are very hardy plants that survive extreme weather conditions such as heat waves, cold snaps, drought and even floods.
They thrive in full sun or partial shade. They prefer moist soil, so make sure your garden is well drained before planting creeping bellflower.
How To Get Rid Of Creeping Bellflower Naturally
There are several methods of getting rid of creeping bellflower including pruning it off, using herbicides and chemical fertilizers to kill it, or simply letting it go. If you want to remove the creeping bellflower from your garden, here’s what you need to do:
1. Hand Pruning
The easiest way to get rid of creeping bellflower is by using hand pruners or a small saw to cut the plant off at ground level. Wear protective gloves and goggles when cutting through the stems because they will leave small splinters in your skin. Place the plants in a black trash bag and throw it out with the rest of your yard waste.
2. Using A Weed Wrench
Weed wrenches are tools that look like large pliers with a long serrated blade on one side and a flat head on the other. They’re great for grabbing onto the stems of plants and then pulling them out of the ground. They work especially well on plants like creeping bellflower, because the serrated teeth dig into the stems and won’t let go.
Try using a weed wrench on the larger plants before you resort to pulling them out by hand. The tool will save you a lot of sweat and labor if you can reach the weeds deep enough in the ground.
3. Using A Chemically Enhanced Fertilizer
Chemical fertilizers can be used to your advantage when trying to kill creeping bellflower. Don’t use a regular 5-10-5 fertilizer because it will not be strong enough to kill the plants. Instead, look for something that is high in nitrogen and phosphorus. An example would be 20-10-10.
Make sure to follow the package directions on how much to use and water accordingly. Creeping bellflower has a tendency to grow back if you don’t apply enough fertilizer, so make sure you get it right the first time.
4. Using A Glyphosate Chemical
Most herbicides are made of glyphosate which is also known as Round-Up. It is a non-selective herbicide, meaning it will kill most plants with which it comes in contact. It should be used with care, because it can also kill plants that you want to keep. You can find glyphosate at your local home improvement store along with directions for its proper use.
Be careful when using glyphosate because it is very toxic. You should always wear protective gloves, eye goggles and long pants when applying it to your garden. Never get it on your skin or in your eyes. Make sure you apply it according to the directions on the package and never exceed the amount recommended.
5. Using A Flame Weeder
A flame weeder is a tool that uses a propane torch to burn weeds. It is a lot like using a weed torch, but it also has a tank that you have to drag around with you as you burn your weeds.
If you want to use a flame weeder, make sure it is legal in your area and always follow the directions that come with the tool. Keep your garden well watered before and after using a flame weeder so that no plant material is allowed to smolder and cause a fire.
Creeping bellflower is an aggressive garden pest that you should get rid of as soon as you see it. Don’t let it take over your garden, arm yourself with one of the techniques listed above and start ripping it out of your yard today.
Creeping bellflower can be found growing in gardens, open fields, forest edges, and waste areas. It is native to Europe but can now be found throughout most of North America. Creeping bellflower is a biennial plant, meaning it typically grows for two years before setting seed. It tend to grow in clusters and has lance-shaped leaves with toothed edges.
The flowers are white or purple and bell-shaped.
If left untreated, creeping bellflower can take over an area so that nothing else can grow there. It can also act as a host plant for several types of pests and diseases.
1. Hand Weeding
The cheapest and safest way to get rid of creeping bellflower is by hand. You may be able to pull out young plants if you catch them early enough. Larger plants will require you to dig down around the base of the plant and cut the roots with a sharp knife. Make sure you get all of the roots or it will grow back.
You can also lay down mulch in an area where you want to prevent creeping bellflower from growing. The thick layer of mulch will act as a barrier between the sun and the soil, preventing the weed from gaining enough strength to grow. Keep in mind that this only prevents it from growing, it will not kill it.
Sources & references used in this article:
Creeping Bellflower Response to Glyphosate and Synthetic Auxin Herbicides by CW Coburn, AT Adjesiwor, AR Kniss – HortTechnology, 2018 – journals.ashs.org
Propagation and cultivation protocols for wild creeping bellflowers (campanula rapunculoides L.) by V Scariot, W Gaino, M Devecchi – International Symposium on …, 2011 – actahort.org
Weed control in lawns by LW Mitich, JD Nalewaja – 1978 – library.ndsu.edu
The inheritance of modifiers conferring self‐fertility in the partially self‐incompatible perennial, Campanula rapunculoides L.(Campanulaceae) by L Shelton – 1915 – C. Scribner’s sons
Perennial combinations: Stunning combinations that make your garden look fantastic right from the start by G Weigel – 2015 – Cool Springs Press
RHS The Secrets of Great Botanists: and What They Teach Us About Gardening by SV Good‐Avila, AG Stephenson – Evolution, 2002 – Wiley Online Library