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Aconitum carmichaelii

Aconitum carmichaelii
Still going horizontal in its (more floriferous) second year
Aconitum carmichaelii

Common name monkshood
Family ranunculaceae
Life cycle perennial (zone 3-7)
Flowers purple (fall)
Size 2-3'
Light sun-part shade
Cultural notes well-drained, medium moist soil
From seed Only fresh seed is viable. Germinates in cold conditions.
detailed seed-starting info below

This monkshood is native to East Asia. It supports panicles of hooded flowers on plants that are reputedly upright. It didn't work out that way in their first year in our garden, during which they were shaded out by a magnificently full bleeding heart plant until mid-summer. Consequently, they grew lanky in search of light, and were laying down by the time their flowers finally opened. We'll try to put their habit to better use next year. According to information I've found, hot summers are difficult for this perennial – some afternoon shade is a plus.


Through the years, we've tried to grow quite a few species of Aconitum, but so far, this is the only one that has thrived in our garden, coming back bigger and better every year, in several spots around the garden with different exposures. I love how a mature specimen sends up a magnificent mound of its frilly leaves by early spring, and keeps looking mahvellous throughout the season, all the way till when it blooms in October.

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

Seed for this plant is included on my seed trade list

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Seed-starting details for this plant

  1. Seed collected in mid-December from still-upright flowerstalks. Baggy cold, with leaf mold (100%G, 6-9w)
  2. Seed collected 12/24/09 immediately baggy 35F (100%G, 4-5w)
  3. Seed collected 12/11/10 immediately baggy 35F in PgX mix (88%G, 5-7w)
  4. Seed collected 12/26/11 immediately baggy 35F (80%G, 5-8w)
  5. Seed collected 12/24/12 immediately baggy 35F (90%G, 11-13w). No idea why this lot took so much longer.
  6. Seed collected 12/20/14 immediately baggy 35F (100%G, 6-9w)

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