Growing Guide
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Autumn Snakeroot

Herbaceous Perennial Flower

Also known as Kamchatka Bugbane
Cimicifuga simplex
Ranunculaceae Family

While not as spectacular as Black snakeroot (C. racemosa), this close relative puts on a fall show with 4-foot-tall feathery spikes of starry white blooms over medium- to dark-purple-green fern-like foliage. Tolerates heat and alkaline soils better than other Cimicifuga species.

Site Characteristics
  • part shade

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
  • requires high fertility
  • Tolerates poor drainage
Prefers moist, acidic, rich soil, but is more tolerant of alkaline soil that other Cimicifuga species.

Hardiness zones:

  • 4 to 8
Possibly hardy in Zone 3. Late-blooming plants are susceptible to early fall frosts.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 2 to 4 feet

Spread: 2 to 3 feet

Bloom time:

  • early fall
  • mid-fall

Flower color: white

Foliage color:

  • medium green
  • dark green
  • purple

Sometimes flushed with purple.

Foliage texture: medium


  • cushion, mound or clump
  • upright

Forms clumps of fern-like foliage followed by upright flower spikes.

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

Flowers borne on stems rising above the foliage. The stems are often gracefully arching.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to Russia, China, Korea and Japan
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by division or separation - Divide carefully in spring or fall, but no sooner than 3 years after planting. Division is difficult due to tough, snake-like, roots. Division is rarely needed, as clumps can remain undisturbed indefinitely.

Sow seeds in containers in fall in cold frame for germination the following spring.

Maintenance and care:
Protect from direct sun and keep soil moist to prevent foliage from burning.

Flower stalks may require staking. ('White Pearl' does not require staking.)

Leave seedheads on plants for fall and winter interest. Cut back in spring.

Plants are slow-growing and seldom require division. Divide carefully in spring or fall.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Tarnished plant bug
Leaf spots
‘Braunlaub’ grows 2 to 3 tall with dark green-purple foliage.

'Brunette' has dark purple-brown leaves with purple stems and purple-tinted cream-colored blooms

‘Elstead' grows 2 to 3 feet tall and has finely-cut, dark green foliage. Purplish-brown flower buds open to pure white flowers.

‘White Pearl’ ('Armleuchter') grows 2 to 3 feet tall, has green buds that open to large (over 2 feet long), dense, white flower spikes and does not require staking.