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Also known as the milky bellflower, Campanula lactiflora is a plant that produces flowers that are shaped like bells. Although its natural range is in Western Asia, the plant is also a decorative garden plant in other areas of the world. Many different versions of Campanula lactiflora, called cultivars, exist.
The bellflower species Campanula lactiflora grows naturally in the temperate climates of Iran, Turkey and the Caucasus area. The Caucasus includes countries like Armenia, Georgia and Russia. As well as being native to these areas, gardeners plant and grow it in other temperate countries like the United Kingdom. Due to the plant's ability to survive and thrive in slightly different conditions to its natural home, it also grows wild in places that have used it in the past as a decorative plant.
A tall plant, Campanula lactiflora easily grows to more than 3.3 feet (about 1 meter) in height. In an less sheltered position, the plant requires support from stakes, as the wind can blow it down. The height and neat spread of the plant make it suitable as a border flower for ornamental gardens. The leaves are a medium green color and have toothed edges, and the flowers bloom at the top of the plant. Different cultivars of the species have differently shaded flowers, from violet to cream.
Campanula lactiflora is just one of hundreds of species of bellflower, most of which grow naturally in southern Europe and Western Asia. Different Campanula species can vary in flower color and the time of year flowering occurs. For example, while Campanula lactiflora blossoms from midsummer onwards, Campanula komarovii flowers earlier in summer, and has darker purple flowers compared to the lactiflora species. Another species, with a similar name, Campanula latifolia, is distinguishable from its relative as it is about half the height of a mature lactiflora plant.
Due to its Asiatic roots, a Campanula lactiflora tend to like lots of sun, but will also survive in partial sunlight. Acid soil is not appropriate for the plant, and it also likes its soil to be well-drained. Altogether, the species is hardy, and can survive adverse conditions in colder temperate zones than its native lands. Gardeners who like a colorful border in summertime can obtain their preferred cultivar of Campanula lactiflora from a plant nursery, where they typically are contained in pots, ready for transplanting into the soil.