Adonis Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Adonis plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Pheasant's eye, False Hellebore, Red Chamomile, & Red Morocco: Cultivation & Garden Use

The common names for Adonis (which can be either a hardy annual or perennial) include Pheasant's eye, False Hellebore, Sweet Vernal and Red Morocco.

The annuals typically flower in the summer, whereas the perennials flower in the early spring.

Adonis vernalis
Adonis vernalis photograph by Gernot Hochmueller.

Description of Adonis Species

Adonis genus members are usually low growing plants, though some species can reach 20 inches (50 cm) in height.

Adonis annuals and perennials bear yellow, red, or white flowers resembling those of buttercups.

Adonis aestivalis
Adonis aestivalis picture by Duendecillo

As a consequence of the perennials being very early flowering, they are great to use in the garden to bring some much needed colour following the winter.

Adonis plants can look wonderful when grown against pathways or in a rockery.

Adonis Genus Information

The Adonis genus, which comprises of about 30 species belongs to the Ranunculaceae family of flowering plants, the buttercups, which contains over 2,000 species.

Some of the most commonly grown Adonis species in the garden include Summer Pheasants eye (Adonis aestivalis); Pheasant's eye also known as Blooddrops (Adonis annua); Spring Pheasant's eye, False Hellebore, Sweet Vernal (Adonis vernalis); Far East Amur Adonis (Adonis amurensis); and Pyrenean Adonis (Adonis pyrenaica).

The plants can range in height from 4 inches (10 cm) to 16 inches (40 cm). They usually have feathery leaves.

The number of petals is widely variable between individual species, from as little as five petals to as many as thirty.

Commonly Grown Adonis Species Photographs and Plant Identification

Pheasant's eye, Red Morocco, Blooddrops (Adonis annua).

The Pheasant's eye plant is an annual that is usually found in corn fields.

Adonis annua can reach 20 inches (50 cm) in height.

Adonis annua
Adonis annua (Pheasant's-eye / Adonis' flower / Autumn Adonis / Red chamomile), picture by manuel m. v.; CC.

It carries beautiful red/scarlet flowers. As with other Adonis plants, the foliage consists of feathery leaves.

This plant flowers in June and July.

Pyrenean Adonis (Adonis Pyrenaica).

This is a perennial plant native to the mountains between France and Spain.

It reaches between 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) in height, and carries large flowers of gold/yellow.

Spring Pheasant's eye, False Hellebore, Sweet Vernal (Adonis vernalis).

This perennial plant is native to the steppes of Europe.

Adonis vernalis
Adonis vernalis (Spring Pheasant's Eye / Yellow Pheasant's Eye / False Hellebore), picture by Björn S...; CC.

The Spring Pheasant's Eye plant is a medicinal plant that contains a compound (glycoside Adonidin) that is used in the treatment of heart conditions.

As one of the common names suggests this member of the Adonis genus flowers in the spring. It has flowers that are yellow/gold in colour.

Adonis amurensis

Adonis amurensis is commonly known as Amur adonis, and is a perennial herbaceous plant native to the Amur River region, which spans parts of Russia and China.

This plant produses early spring blossoms that feature bright yellow flowers.

Adonis amurensis
Adonis amurensis (Amur Adonis / Pheasant's Eye), photograph by 阿橋 HQ; CC.

As their blooms can emerge through snow, they can make a great choice to grow in winter garden.

How to Grow Adonis

It is best to sow Adonis seeds outdoors, simply sow on the surface and then cover with a dusting of soil.

They should be planted with a spacing of 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches), in either spring (annuals) or in the autumn (perennials).

Plants prefer partly shady conditions, but can be grown in full sunlight so long as the soil is kept moist.

The soil type should ideally be moist and sandy. Plants perform best in a soil with a pH between 6 and 8.

Adonis Plant Care

Adonis are generally easy plants to look after and care for.

Though, perennial varieties will require fertilizer, and a thick mulch in the winter.

How to Grow Adonis

Adonis Growing Guide

Common Names: Pheasant's eye, False Hellebore, Adonis' flower, Red Chamomile, Blooddrops, Sweet Vernal and Red Morocco.
Scientific Names: Adonis aestivalis, A. vernalis, A. amurensis, A. annua, A. flammea.
Life Cycle: Hardy annual. Hardy perennial.
Height: 4 to 18 inches (10 to 45 cm).
Native: Europe, North Africa and Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10.
Flowers: Perennials: spring; annuals: summer.
Flower Details: Red, yellow, gold, orange, white. Ray florets. Butter-cup like.
Foliage: Finely divided. Thread-like. Feathery.
Sow Outside: Cover seeds. Annuals before the last frost. Perennials in autumn. Germination time: one to four months. Temperature 65ºF (18ºC). Spacing 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm).
Sow Inside: Best started outdoors.
Requirements: Partial shade or full sunlight (keep soil moist). Soil pH 6 to 8.
Moist soil. Sandy soil. Mulch perennials for the winter.
References and Further Reading: NCE Gardener Plant Toolbox; Kew Garden Plants of the World.

Adonis Figure
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 121.

Common Questions

How many members does the Adonis genus have?

The Adonis genus consists of about 20-30 species.

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

As Adonis species have bright, early-spring flowers, they can make a great addition to rock gardens and for use in woodland plantings.

Which Adonis species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Adonis amurensis (Amur Adonis) and Adonis vernalis (Spring Adonis) are popular among gardeners.

Are members of the Adonis genus fragrant?

Adonis flowers are not really known for their fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Adonis?

Adonis plants prefer a garden location with full sun to partial shade, and require a well-drained soil.

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

Adonis is not generally considered to be invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Adonis from my garden?

The entire plant, including its roots, should be dug up to prevent regrowth. Be careful when handling, as all parts of the plant are poisonous.


The Adonis genus includes perennial plants commonly known as Adonis or Pheasant's Eye. Native to Europe and Asia, they thrive in well-drained soil and full sun exposure.

With their vibrant yellow flowers and finely divided foliage, Adonis plants add a burst of color to gardens. They are drought-tolerant and can adapt to various soil types.

When cultivating Adonis, moderate watering is important. Propagation can be done through seeds or division of clumps.

Adonis species are suitable for rock gardens and flower borders.

Adonis plants create a delightful sight in gardens, especially in spring when their bright yellow blooms stand out.

They are valued for their resilience and stunning appearance. Adonis species have the ability to bring cheerfulness and natural beauty to any garden's design.

Indeed, they are a great plant to grow if you wish to provide a touch of vibrancy and an elegance to outdoor spaces.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Adonis. You may also enjoy the following growing guides:

How to grow hellebore, Kohlrabi, Freesia plant, and Larkspur plants.