Growing Guide
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Azure Monkshood

Herbaceous Perennial Flower

Aconitum carmichaelii
Ranunculaceae Family
Synonym: Aconitum fischeri

Azure Monkshood brings showy spikes of attractive purple-blue flowers to the shady parts of your garden.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
  • part shade
Prefers part shade but tolerates full sun.

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
Prefers soil that is kept moist but not soggy.

Hardiness zones:

  • 3 to 8
Possibly hardy in Zone 2. Also reported suitable for Zones 9 and 10.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: moderately difficult

Needs good soil preparation. May be slow to establish.

Height: 2.5 to 5 feet

Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom time:

  • late summer
  • early fall

Flower color:

  • blue
  • violet

The flowers are dark purple-blue.

Foliage color: dark green

The large leaves are lobed and toothed.

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: upright

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

The flowers are borne loosely along erect stems that rise above the foliage.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - China
Special uses:
  • cut flowers
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, division or separation - Carefully prepare soil before planting, adding lots of organic matter. Plan where you want Monkshood carefully, because plants don't like to be transplanted and are slow to establish. (The roots are brittle.) Plant roots or divide plants in fall or spring.

Sow seed outdoors in fall, early winter or early spring. Seed is slow to germinate, sometimes taking 1 to 2 years.

Maintenance and care:
Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Deadhead to encourage secondary flowering. Cut back to leaves at the base when finished flowering.

Most varieties need staking. To reduce flower height and delay blooming, cut established plants back by half when they are about 18 inches tall.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Fourlined plant bug
Larkspur leafminer
Bacterial leaf spot
Verticillium wilt
'Arendsii' is a late-flowering variety that doesn't need staking. Flowers borne on strong 3- to 4-foot stems.