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Aconitum selections


How can you not fall in love with a perennial that has regal blue spires? And monkshood is that plant. Relatively unknown, it deserves a lot more attention. It produces tall spikes of hooded purple, blue, white, or bicolor blooms in late summer to fall. When not in bloom, its mounds of coarsely lobed foliage look great, too.

Plants grow best in partial shade, although in cool climates they will grow well in full sun. In dense shade, plants will become floppy. All parts of monkhood are poisonous.

Monkshood dislikes hot weather, so it's usually not a great choice for gardeners in hot-summer climates.

Sun,Part Sun
Plant Type:
Plant Height:
2-5 feet tall
Plant Width:
1 foot wide
Flower Color:
Blue, violet, white or bicolor flowers, depending on variety
Bloom Time:
Blooms late summer to early or mid-fall, depending on variety
Landscape Uses:
Beds & Borders
Special Features:
Flowers,Cut Flowers,Deer Resistant
Top Varieties

(Aconitum carmichaelii 'Arendsii') is a late bloomer with large intense blue-purple flowers. The sturdy plants normally need no staking unless grown in too much shade. It grows 4 feet tall. Zones 3-7.
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(Aconitum cammarum 'Bicolor') features pale lavender to violet flowers with darker purple petals below. It grows 4 feet tall. Zones 3-7.
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(Aconitum napellus) blooms in deep purple-blue in late summer. Plants grow to 5 feet tall. Zones 5-8.
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Plant It With

Astilbe blooms earlier in the summer than monkshood. Both appreciate moist soil in partial shade. Pairing the two extends the season for color interest.


Flowers of monkshood rise above the foliage of hosta, creating a striking combination when interplanted. Deadhead faded hosta blooms to prevent them from distracting from the monkshood blooms.

Toad lily

The purple-speckled blooms of toad lily peak at the same time as late-blooming monkshood varieties. Both grow well in moist partial shade.