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Aconitum : how to grow, soil conditions and what care should be taken.




Aconitum, also referred to as wolfsbane, aconite, and, more commonly, monkshood, is a perennial that yields blue-violet flowers during the later months of summer.

Characteristics of Aconitum

– Aconitum is part of the buttercup family and is known to thrive best in the northeast United States.
– Aconitum has a very rich culture and makes a beautiful addition to flower gardens.
– Aconitum flowers are an unusual hooded shape just over 1 inch (2.5cm) across and borne on tall upright spikes.
– They are usually blue or violet , but rose, white and yellow types also exist.
– Aconitum flowers are available in summer and autumn.

Growing Aconites (Aconitum napellus) from seed

– Aconitum napellus is easy to grow from seeds.
– This plant is a cold-germinator.
– The sowing must be kept cold for a period of some weeks (refrigerator) or you sow them in very early spring or autumn.
– Mix the seeds with damp sand in a plastic bag.
– The sowing must be kept warm (about 20 degrees C / 64 to 72 degrees F and moist for the first 2-4 weeks.
– After this period place it in your refrigerator at a temperature of 5 degrees C (between 25 and 39 degrees F) for 5 to 6 weeks. After that take the bag out and keep it at room temperature.
– Check for sprouted seed regularly.

Growing conditions for Aconitum

– 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.
– Divide plants carefully just as they start into growth in late February or early spring.
– Handle any with tuberous roots carefully, replanting vigorous pieces, and divide those with fibrous roots using two forks back to back. Then wash your hands.

Care

– The plant itself should be trimmed back early in the season so that it has the opportunity to grow strong before it begins to yield blooms.
– While the plant itself is quite sturdy, it may require staking in order to get to its maximum height.
– While deadheading (removing dead flowers by pinching them off at the stem) can result in another set of flowers, this is not always the case.

Uses

– Aconitums are a beautiful addition to a flower garden and, because they bloom later in the summer, are well-served when placed near shade-loving flowers that bloom earlier in the season.
– Their vibrant hue adds color to a section of the garden that would otherwise have been devoid of color during the later part of the summer.





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