to the genus ipomoea belong hundreds of species, originating in southern America, Asia and southern Africa; many species produce large tubers, used in feeding, while others are eaten raw or cooked leaves. Most of the annual climbing species are instead cultivated for the showy summer flowers. They have thin, fickle stems, with a great development, which allows large pergolas to be covered in a single season. The foliage is large, trilobed, ovate or heart-shaped; in summer they produce large bell-shaped flowers, of various colors, from pink to purple, from lilac to blue; sometimes with throat in contrasting color, with white edges, streaks or two-colored; some species produce delicately scented flowers, or have yellow-golden or green-blue foliage. With the arrival of the first autumn colds the aerial part dries up; if the winter is not too rigid often the plant starts to develop again the following year. I. violacea has large purple or pink flowers with a white throat; I. quamoclit has thin foliage, light green, and bright red flowers.
The bell is a kind of plant that requires a lot of light to develop and grow at its best. It prefers indeed sunny exposures, possibly places where the sun's rays arrive directly on the leaves and the stem of the plant. The hypomoeae settle in the vicinity of a railing or a trellis, so that the stems can twist and develop freely. Regarding the temperature, they do not need particular climatic conditions. They bear the hottest and most humid climates well while on the contrary, during the colder season of the year, bell plants could present some difficulties. The temperature must therefore not fall below 15 ° C.
Further advice for cultivating bell plants is to choose a well-ventilated place but without too many strong drafts so that you can see your ipomoea develop without difficulty.
In general, bells can easily withstand drought, but to obtain an excellent and abundant flowering it is advisable to water them regularly, leaving the soil dry for a few days before watering again; every 10-12 days, mix fertilizer for flowering plants with the water for watering. During the winter season, the watering should be clearly reduced, it is advisable to leave the soil almost dry to avoid stagnation and rot of the plant. An important suggestion is to use a saucer to guarantee the sustenance the bell needs, but avoiding having to leave the soil too wet. However, the bottom of the pot should not be in contact with water.
Locate these plants in a soft and very well drained soil; you can prepare an optimal soil by mixing universal soil with a good amount of lapillus or pumice stone. To keep the underground tuber sheltered, it is advisable to cover the soil at the base of the plant with dry leaves or lapillus.
Generally the reproduction of the ipomoea occurs by seed; the small seeds are placed at home directly outdoors, in the place where you will want to see the plant develop; to obtain thick shrubs and continuous flowering, 2-3 seedings are repeated, 2-3 weeks apart.
Campanella - Ipomoea: Pests and diseases
Bells are often attacked by aphids and mites. For this reason it is good to keep the younger species under control, more prone to attack by parasites, and use specific pesticide products to eliminate the problem.