How to Grow Adenophora Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Ladybells

The common names for the Hardy perennial Adenophora plant include Ladybells.

They are native to Asia and typically flower at the height of summer.

Adenophora liliifolia photograph by Peganum.

Description of Adenophora

Adenophora plants grow from 45 cm to about 125 cm (18 inches to 4 feet) in height.

Ladybells strongly resemble Campanulas and have bell shaped, pale blue flowers. It is an idea plant for use in a border. They are members of the Bellfower family (Campanulaceae).

The Adenophora Genus

The most renown members of this genus include Adenophora tashiroi; Adenophora triphylla; Adenophora potaninii; Adenophora stricta; Adenophora nikoensis; Adenophora pereskiifolia; Adenophora khasiana; and Adenophora lilifolia;Adenophora remotiflora; Adenophora taquetii; and Adenophora polyantha.

Adenophora Plant Species

Adenophora triphylla (Japanese Ladybell)

Adenophora triphylla, commonly known as Japanese Ladybell, is a very variable species native to East Asia.

It typically reaches about 40 inches (100 cm) in height. The leaves are oval and serrated. Japanese Lady Bells Flowers are delicate lavender bells, hermaphroditic, and pollinated by bees and other insects.

The plant has a carrot-like taproot, which is usually white, and can reach about an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.

They like to grow in grassy lowland regions and in the mountains, and have a preference for a loamy soil.

Adenophora triphylla
Adenophora liliifolia, better known as Japanese lady bells, photograph by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋).

Sow seeds in the spring, where seeds will germinate once temperatures reach about 50°F (10°C).

Does best in a full sun or partial shade, with a preference of warm soil.

Being a mountainous plant it is no surprise that it is tolerant to low temperatures, though it is susceptible to attack from slugs, so treat the area with pellets to protect plants.

This species has long been used in Korean traditional medicine where it is used to treat coughs and catarrh. Further to this, plants are also thought to have antifungal properties.

Adenophora potaninii

These plants are grown for their hardiness and long-blooming periods (plants flower from the end of spring through to autumn).

Adenophora potaninii reach about 3 feet (90 cm) in height and have a similar spread.

They carry lavender colored bell shaped flowers. Plants are suitable for zones 5 to 10, and can be grown in full sunlight or partial shade conditions.

Adenophora khasiana

Adenophora khasiana is a plant species native to the Himalayan region. It is known for its beautiful blue flowers. The plant is often used in traditional medicine as it may have potential therapeutic properties.

Adenophora khasiana is an important part of the biodiversity in its natural habitat, and is also cultivated as an ornamental plant.

Adenophora liliifolia (Lily-leaf Ladybells)

Adenophora liliifolia is a plant found in North America. Commonly known as Lily-leaf Ladybells, it is characterized by its lily-like flowers. The plant is grown for its ornamental value and is often cultivated in gardens. Adenophora liliifolia is an important part of its native flora.

It is also used in traditional medicine for its potential health benefits.

Adenophora bulleyana (Bulley's bellflower)

The Adenophora bulleyana, which is commonly known as Bulley's bellflower, is a herbaceous perennial plant

It is known for its bell-shaped, sky-blue flowers that bloom in late summer. This plant, native to the mountainous regions of Western China, sports lance-shaped leaves and has a unique, cylindrical growth habit.

Ideal for garden cultivation, it prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Its enchanting flowers and lush foliage make it a standout in borders, wildflower meadows, and cottage gardens.

How to Grow Ladybells

It is best to sow Adenophora on the soil surface, with a spacing of 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet) in the early spring, before the last frost or in the early autumn.

Adenophora can grow in part shade or in full sunlight as long as it is kept moist. The soil should be a rich, well drained moist loam.

Adenophora requires between 30 and 90 days to germinate.If initially growing indoors, it is best to to start seeds off eight to ten weeks before planting out. Which should be done in the early spring, or autumn.

How to Care for Ladybells

Ladybells require watering and regular deadheading. They should not be transplanted.

Cuttings can be took from the plant in the Spring.

Quick Adenophora Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Adenophora
  • Common Names: Ladybells, False Campanula.
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 3-8. RHS Hardiness Rating: H7 (Hardy in the severest European continental climates).
  • Best Used For / Garden Location: Ideal for borders, cottage gardens, and woodland gardens. Plant in a location with full sun to partial shade.
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial / Herbaceous.
  • Plant Height: 1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 meters).
  • Plant Spread: 1-1.5 feet (0.3-0.45 meters).
  • Blooms: Summer.
  • Flower Details: Bell-shaped, blue or violet flowers in loose racemes.
  • Leaf Foliage: Oval or heart-shaped, toothed, green leaves.
  • Fruit: Small, dry capsules containing many tiny seeds.
  • Best Light Conditions: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained, loamy or sandy soils. Prefers moist conditions.
  • Sowing, planting: Sow seeds indoors in late winter or directly outdoors in early spring.
  • Germination time: 2-3 weeks at 70-75°F (21-24°C).
  • Propagation: By seeds or division in spring or fall.
  • Plant Care: Water regularly but do not allow the soil to become waterlogged.
  • Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for container growing. Maintain regular watering and provide a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in spring.
  • Growing as an House plant: Not typically grown as a houseplant.
  • Miscellaneous: Attracts bees and butterflies. Not invasive.
  • Pests and diseases: May be susceptible to slugs and snails.
  • Common Garden Species / Cultivars / Varieties: Adenophora liliifolia (Lily-leaved Ladybells) and Adenophora confusa (Blue Mist) are popular for their blue-violet flowers.
  • Family: Campanulaceae, the Bellflower family.
  • Native: Asia, especially in China and Korea.
  • References and Further Reading: Missouri Botanical Garden: Plant Finder - Adenophora.

Common Questions

How many members does the Adenophora genus have?

The Adenophora genus consists of about 40 species.

Do members of Adenophora make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Adenophora, commonly known as ladybells, can make a delightful addition to a garden, with their bell-shaped blue flowers.

Which Adenophora species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown species is Adenophora liliifolia, also known as Lily-leaf Ladybell.

Are members of the Adenophora fragrant?

Some species of Adenophora, like Adenophora triphylla, have a light, sweet fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Adenophora?

Adenophora prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained, fertile soil.

Is Adenophora invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Adenophora is not generally considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Adenophora from my garden?

Remove the Adenophora plant by carefully digging out the entire plant, including the roots, to prevent regrowth.


The Adenophora genus consists of perennial plants commonly known as Ladybells. These plants are native to Asia and Europe, and they are appreciated for their bell-shaped flowers and attractive foliage. Adenophora plants prefer well-drained soil and thrive in partial shade or full sun exposure. They are adaptable and can tolerate various soil types.

When growing Adenophora, it's important to provide regular watering, especially during dry periods. These plants can be propagated through seeds or division of mature clumps. With their graceful blooms and ease of cultivation, Adenophora species are popular choices for borders, woodland gardens, and cottage-style landscapes. Their delicate and charming appearance adds a touch of elegance to any garden, making them a delightful addition to create beautiful and serene outdoor spaces.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on Adenophora. You may also enjoy the following garden growing guides: How to grow Jasione, Allium caeruleum, and Phyteuma plants.