Aconitum: Monkshood

If you love blue flowers, then Monkshood is the plant for you.

blue monkshood flowers

Photo: daveeza (flickr)

Placing blues can be tricky especially with strong hot colors.

Plants with blue flowers are great harmonizers in flower gardens and many of us collect them.

Blue, white and pale yellow is a time honoured combination and one that makes a summer garden look especially cool.  But placing blues can be tricky especially with strong hot colors.

Interestingly, different colored blues can usually be grouped together quite successfully, and clump of blue in the distance seems to melt the boundary of a garden and creates a feeling of spaciousness.

Brooding Flower

The genus Aconitum contains a large number of blue flowering perennials and biennials that are commonly known as Monkshoods since the flowers have five sepals with one that looks like a hook.

New cultivars with bicolour flowers and varied hues have been developed in recent years and the darkest shades give the plant a somewhat brooding effect.

Another common name is Wolfsbane because all parts of the plant are poisonous.

Plant Your Own

They grow in zones 3-6 and produce spires of late summer flowers above handsome foliage.  They need good soil and reliable moisture during drought but can’t abide wet feet.

Wear gloves when handling the roots which break easily and exude sap that has a numbing effect.

Aconitum Spark’s variety produces stunning blue spires in August and September.  It prefers some light shade when summers are hot and will persist for years with minimal attention.

If you love blue flowers, then Monkshood is the plant for you.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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