Friday, April 1, 2011


One of my favorite perennials is MONKSHOOD or Aconitum.  Although the roots of monkshood do contain poison, I've read that, with sensible precautions, there is no reason not to grow this stately plant with it's beautiful spikes of blue or white hood-like flowers.  The story is that someone mistakenly ate a root of monkshood, thinking it was horseradish, and died.  So, to be on the safe side, don't eat any of the roots, foliage or blooms.  I also keep mine at the back of the border, where it isn't easily accessible to children or animals.  It can be planted among shrubs or other perennials in full sun to partial shade.  It looks especially well with Madonna lilies, white phlox and Shasta daisies.  Common monkshood has dark blue flowers in midsummer; azure monkshood has lighter-colored flowers in late summer.  They grow to about 5 or so feet high.  They are extremely hardy, but should be mulched the first couple of winters to be on the safe side.  Plant with the crown about an inch under soil that is moist and well-drained.  They flower freely when they are established and what's neat about them is that they can be left undisturbed for many years.  To avoid leaves turning black, make sure they have plenty of moisture--or, what I do, is have them in partial shade.  I love this time of year when their beautiful deeply cut foliage starts to emerge.  It is beautiful all season long.  A few precautions:  They don't like to be transplanted, and their tuber-like roots are easily broken.   So, if you must transplant or divide, do it now, while they are just starting to break dormancy.  Monkshood are very striking in your flower beds--If you need something for the back of the border, this is a good choice for a late blooming perennial.
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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