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Aconitums - tell me about yours.

Posted by campanula UK Cambridge (My Page) on
Sat, May 10, 14 at 13:08

Aconitums are undeniably tough and long-lived plants - I know because I have several which are as old as my garden which have survived everything, including total transformation. They are always good for that l;ate summer shot of electric blue and if, like me, you have finally despaired of the never-ending fuss required to have delphiniums, then aconitums are a fabulous replacement. However, my modest collection has had a recent shot in the arm since taking to the woods - not only do they grow easily from seed, nothing wants to eat them and they look fine surrounded by the vast swathes of umbels and willowherb which colonise the woods. Accordingly, I now have a varied collection including the pale Stainless Steel, creamy Ivorine and various types - amellus, henryi, cammarum (I confess to vagueness regarding taxonomy since they came from jumbled seed collections from here, there and everywhere. I have also been investigating the climbing aconitum, A.hemslyanum (sp?).
Then, there is the foliage - handsome, palmate, shiny or interestingly lacinate - really, although it has taken some time for this plant to have finally crept under my radar, I predict another one of those obsessions creeping up....but what's not to like?
So, those discerning gardeners who have discovered the charms of monkshood, enlighten me and tell me how and where you grow yours, please.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Aconitums - tell me about yours.

  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Sat, May 10, 14 at 13:53

Well, I found that aconitums in general do not like excessively hot nighttime temps in late summer, nor do they like what I called hair drier winds which dessicate thoroughly.

Given that, I'm interested in seeing where geographically people find them to thrive.

RE: Aconitums - tell me about yours.

I have two, Aconitum x cammarum bicolor and another I'm not sure which one possibly carmichaelii, grows 4-5' blooms in october here. What I really like about them the slugs and snails leave them alone, right beside them the cardiocrinums look like someone aimed a shotgun at them.

Mine get a bit of morning sun, the rest of the day semi shade. A great no fuss plant here, even when not in bloom the foliage is lovely.


RE: Aconitums - tell me about yours.

I love monkshood in the garden, though I wouldn't plant it for easy access by children. All of our monkshood is too tall for the front of mixed perennial beds anyway.

I'd say Arend's (fall) monkshood is the single most useful monkshood here. It's a real workhorse of the fall perennial garden.

My favourite monkshood colour is Aconitum 'Spark's Variety'. It grows well over six foot tall in our garden, so staking it is no easy feat. It's possible the excessive height is related to the spring fertilization received by the cedar hedge just behind it.

Picture August 6, 2010.

RE: Aconitums - tell me about yours.

Only one I have ever had success with is Arendsii
As said above, the night temps and high humidity here just kill off most of the others.

RE: Aconitums - tell me about yours.

They are always good for that late summer shot of electric blue

Of course I agree Campanula. The flowers are the most amazing shade of blue. (Here is some flowers from a couple of falls ago).

 photo MHood_1.jpg

They are one of the first perennials to show life each spring.

(Below are my two plants as of today; very vigorous).

But it has been my experience that the stalks can flop if there is an extended dry spell.

I did a bit of an experiment last season and for one of the two clumps I have I did a "Chelsea Chop". It did still bloom and of course was less tall overall.

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