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Cimicifuga takes center stage in late summer shade gardens when it debuts long candlelike spikes of airy white flowers in concert with its dark-green leaves. This plant—foliage plus flower spikes—reaches 4 to 6 feet tall, and sometimes 8 feet tall in optimum conditions. The flower stalks, which are actually clusters of thin stamens, last for more than three weeks.
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garden plans for Cimicifuga
Also called bugbane and black cohosh, cimicifuga is a long-lived woodland plant. Grow it with other woodland perennials, such as phlox, tall species of fern, astilbe, and angelica. Cimicifuga is especially eye-catching when it rises high above a hosta grouping. Cluster three to five cimicifuga plants together for an impressive show over a large area.
Cimicfuga Care Must-Knows
Cimicifuga grows best in moist soil that is rich in organic matter and part shade to full shade. In Zones 7 and above, full shade is essential; too much sun will burn the plant's leaves and create bedraggled looking specimens. If your garden soil is dry or crumbly, incorporate a large amount of well-decomposed compost into the dirt before planting. Continue incorporating compost annually until the soil develops the consistency of light, humusy woodland soil.
Plant cimicifuga where it is sheltered from strong winds and has room to expand. It's a slow grower, but will eventually reach 4 to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Water it regularly during the first year after planting to maintain moist soil and encourage root growth. Stake tall flower stalks as needed by sinking a sturdy twig or bamboo stake into the ground alongside the plant. Use garden twine to loosely tie the flower stalk to the stake.
If cimicifuga's leaf margins or whole leaves begin to turn brown, the plant is receiving too much sun or not enough water. If the plant is suffering from intense afternoon shade, move it to a lower-light location. Supplement natural rainfall by watering regularly. Blanket the soil around cimicifuga with a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch to prevent soil moisture from evaporating.