Aconitum – Monkshood, Wolfsbane, Helmet Flower, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers

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Perennial Flower Information

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Aconitum
– Monkshood, Wolfsbane, Helmet Flower

Under
trees, in woodlands and even in semi-wild gardens, the
Aconitums, when once established, enhance the stateliness
and grandeur of a place as only a plant with tall spikes
of cool blue flowers can. The flowers themselves are
showy, shaped like a helmet or hood, from which the
common name Monkshood is derived. The leaves are large
and lustrous green, forming a dense mat, which throws
long, compact stalks of white, blue, violet-blue, white
and lilac and yellow flowers. They grow from 3 feet
to 6 feet tall and bloom from June or July until November.

SPECIES.
The common Monkshood (Aconitum Napellus) has
large, dark blue flowers and grows 5 feet to 6 feet
high. A variety of this one has white flowers with flesh-colored
edges and another has decided pink markings on it. A.
N. bicolor
has white and blue flowers. Wolfsbane
(A. Lycoctonum) blooms in June and July, is 4
feet high and has soft yellow flowers. A. Wilsonii
blooms in September with spikes of pale blue flowers
growing 6 feet tall. A. Fischeri is the last
one to bloom. It is only 3 feet tall, has pale blue
flowers and blooms in October.

UTILIZE.
The Monkshoods are planted among shrubbery and in borders,
especially in combination with Madonna Lilies, white
Phlox and Shasta Daisies. Most of the varieties are
valuable to fill in vacant spaces in the garden when
the earlier blooming plants have past.

They
are excellent for naturalizing in a woods. Since the
roots are poisonous, one should be careful to avoid
planting them near a vegetable garden where they might
be mistaken for another plant, or where children could
get to them. The effect of the glossy leaves is very
striking, especially of A. Fischeri. If undisturbed
in the woods, they will naturalize themselves very easily.
Aconitums should always be planted in masses.

GENERAL.
Aconitums grow in almost any good garden soil, either
in sun or partial shade. When the ground is being prepared
for planting, one should dig deeply and use plenty of
well-decayed cow manure. Good culture and liberal feeding
add greatly.

PROPAGATION.
It is a rather slow process to raise them from seed
since it takes twenty days for the seed to germinate.
However, they are easily propagated by division of the
roots. They grow best when left undisturbed for years.

 

 


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