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Aconitum (ack-oh-NEYE-tum)

Common Name:  Monkshood

Light:  - Part sun to light shade

Soil:  Humus-rich, moist but well-drained

Moisture:  Average to slightly moist

Blooms:  Autumn

Zones:  3 - 8

Aconitum 'Blue Lagoon'

Aconitum fischeri

Aconitum Description and Cultural Information

Aconitum fischeri, Aconitum carmichaelii, azure monkshood. 2 - 4'. Rich, dark green foliage accents deep blue flowers in late summer into fall. This monkshood tends to be sturdier and requires staking less often than others.

Aconitum x hybrids, bicolor monkshood. 3 - 4'. These monkshood are typically tall, showy plants with dark green, glossy, lobed foliage. Plants are also often labeled as A. cammarum and A. napellus bicolor. 'Eleanor' is an improved bicolor with near white flowers and a narrow purple edge. 'Stainless Steel' has grayish-green foliage with metallic blue flowers. 'Blue Lagoon' is a dwarf hybrid with fern-like foliage growing about a foot tall.

Aconitum napellus, common monkshood. 3 - 4'. This old-fashioned flower has blue flowers in late summer. It is not as sturdy as its cousins and almost always needs staking.

How to Grow:  Plant monkshoods in part sun to light shade in moist, humus rich soil. They multiply from a central crown and can be divided in early spring or late fall, planting the carrot-like roots with the top a little below the soil. In cooler climates monkshoods can be grown in full sun, but water well in dry seasons. Mulch to conserve moisture and prevent weeds. Staking may be required, especially when grown in dense shade.

Landscape Uses:  Plant monkshoods in the middle or back of the border with other late-blooming perennials such as Joe-Pye weed, toad lilies (Tricyrtis), asters, heliopsis, obedient plant (Physostegia), or pink turtlehead (Chelone).

All parts of Aconitum are poisonous, especially the roots.

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