Delightful but deadly

I love aconitums. They provide columns of blue flowers, are nowhere near as demanding as delphiniums, and are untouched by slugs. Some people are put off growing them because they are poisonous, but so are daffodil bulbs which they will quite happily plant in drifts. I’ve been growing aconitums for several years now and am still here to tell the tale.

According to Wikpedia: “Aconitum, commonly known as aconite, monkshood, wolf’s bane, leopard’s bane, mousebane,  women’s bane, devil’s helmet, queen of poisons, or blue rocket, is a genus of over 250 species of flowering plants belonging to the family Ranunculacae. These herbaceous perennial plants are chiefly native to the mountainous parts of the Northern Hemisphere, growing in the moisture-retentive but well-draining soils of mountain meadows.” In the garden, they are happy in part shade or sun, but need a soil that doesn’t dry out. It must not become waterlogged in the winter, a requirement that seems to be especially true for the variety A. x cammarum ‘Bicolor’.

Aconitum x cammarum 'Bicolor' - 2017

This stands out from the usual blue- or white-flowered forms, but needs careful siting in the border to show it off. Here it is growing behind a hamemelis where it is set off by the dark blue A‘Sparks’ Variety’,  and I have also planted it between later flowering rodgersias.


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