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.
Adenophora plants grow from 45cm to about 125 cm in height.
Ladybells strongly resemble Campanulas and have bell shaped, pale blue flowers. It is an idea plant for use in a border.
It is best to sow Adenophora on the soil surface, with a spacing of 30 to 60 cm 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 rich, well drained moist loam. Adenophora requires between 30 days and 90 days to germinate. If initially growing indoors it is best to to start seeds off eight to ten weeks before planting out in the early spring or autumn.
Ladybells require watering and regular deadheading. They should not be transplanted. Cuttings can be took from the plant in the Spring.
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 triphylla (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. 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 liliifolia 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 pant 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.
These plants are grown for their hardiness and long-blooming periods (plants flower from the end of spring through to autumn). They reach about 3 feet (90 cm) in height and have a similar spread. They carry lavender colored bell shaped flowers. They are suitable for zones 5 to 10, and can be grown in full sunlight or partial shade conditions.