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Creeping bellflower wreaking havoc on Calgary yards and gardens

Though Calgarians might see the Creeping Bellflower as a visually pleasing addition to their gardens it actually causes more harm than good.

The Creeping Bellflower is considered a noxious weed and one that should be eliminated at all costs. Calgary’s Greengate Garden Centre is raising awareness about the rapid pace the plant spreads at the potential damage that the plant can do.

“It will aggressively invade lawns and gardens. It produces up to 15,000 seeds per stem, thrives in full sun, and part shade. Even the smallest bit of root will produce another plant. Seek and destroy!” read the Greengate release.

John Ostrowdun, Greengate’s resident horticulturist and Greengoods manager, said that though many people find the plant attractive, don’t share it with their friends or family.

“It’s actually quite an attractive perennial, however that’s part of the problem as it gets spread around by unknowing people,” said Ostrowdun.

Taking precautions

Should someone come across one of these plants Ostrowdun advises that people should remove them immediately to prevent further damage to greenspaces or their own personal gardens.

“The best way to remove it is by doing some manual labor and removing as much of the plant as possible. Also throw it in the garbage bin and not into your compost bin because if it gets composted it can be spread that way,” said Ostowdun.

Despite the title of the Creeping bellflower being a noxious weed Ostrowdun said that the plant itself is not harmful.

“ n this aspect it’s not going to kill livestock or pets or kids or anything like that. It’s just more of a nuisance,” said Ostrowdun.

The Alberta Invasive Species Council also advises Calgarians to err on the side of caution when purchasing wildflower seeds.

“Wildflower seed mixes may contain Creeping Bellflower. Do not purchase wildflower mixes that do not list the contents. This plant may also be available at some nurseries or hitch a ride with other perennials,” said the Alberta Invasive Species Council.

Ostrowdun said should someone find the plant attractive and want to find a plant that is similar, there are other options that are far less destructive.

“There are plants like delphinium or penstemon that look similar but have none of the negative characteristics. They also stay as a nice clump and an attractive perennial,” said Ostowdun.