monkshood Seeds, White Flowers
Aconitum are suitable for borders and woodland gardens and are extremely attractive to pollinating insects, especially bees
Aconitums come in many guises and they can flower between July and late September. The hooded, helmet-shaped flowers, which consist of sepals rather than petals, give aconitums the common name of monkshood.
Aconitum napellus subsp. vulgare Albidum is a superb white form of the most popular Monkshood. Hardy to minus 40°C (-40°F), long lived and maintenance free, they are choice mid to late season vertical accent plants. The flower spikes grow to around 120cm (48in) tall. The stiff stems are self-supporting with handsome leathery green foliage.
. They must have moisture, but given this are easy to grow in almost any soil, either in sun or light shade. They are very hardy and will even grow in rough grass and so are a great addition to a collection of plants for a flowery meadow.
Gardeners who find delphiniums difficult should try Aconitum as an alternative, unlike delphiniums, monkshoods usually need no staking and they are less appealing to slugs and snails.
Sowing: Sow indoors in spring or directly outdoors in autumn
Aconitum grows reliably from seeds when they are exposed to cold temperatures for several weeks to break their dormancy. This can be accomplished by sowing the seeds directly outdoors in late autumn or early winter for germination the following spring. At other times of the year the seeds can be cold-stratified before sowing indoors and the seedlings transplanted into the garden when temperatures are warm.
Place the seeds in a plastic bag filled with moistened paper towel ten weeks before the last spring frost. Chill them in a refrigerator for three weeks before sowing. Fill 7cm (3in) pots with perlite-enhanced potting soil. Stand the pots in water until the compost is fully moist and then drain. Sow the seeds 5mm (¼in) deep and place the pots on a lightly shaded windowsill where temperatures stay between 13 to 16°C (55 to 60°F). Shield the pots from direct afternoon sun to keep the soil from drying out too quickly.
Maintain constant moisture in the top 1cm (½in) of soil using a spray bottle. Water whenever the soil feels barely moist on the surface to prevent it from completely drying out. Watch for germination in approximately one month. Decrease watering slightly after the seeds germinate. Allow the top 5mm (¼in) of soil to dry out before adding more water.
Transplant the monkshood seedlings into a partly shaded bed with moist, fast-draining soil one week after the last frost. Space the plants 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) apart. Mulch heavily between the plants.
Prepare a shady bed with fast-draining soil two weeks after the first light frost in autumn to ensure that the soil and air temperatures are cool. Weed the site thoroughly and add a 7cm (3in) thick layer of compost to the top 15cm (6in) of soil. Sow the seeds 15cm (6in) apart and cover lightly with 5mm (¼in) of loose soil over the seeds. Spray the bed lightly with water to settle the soil onto the seeds.
After germination, which takes about one month, thin the seedlings to one every 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in)
Spread a 3cm (1in) thick layer of mulch around each seedling to keep their roots cool and moist. Water to a 5cm (2in) depth if no rain falls for longer than one week.