Monkshood Plant

The Monkshood Plant is a herbaceous perennial semi shade loving plant that can also be known as; Aconitum, Aconite, Turk's Cap, Wolf's Bane, Women's Bane, Devil's Helmet, Friar's Cap, Leopard's Bane, and Blue Rocket.

The natural environment and climate preference of Monkshood are mountainous northern hemisphere regions on the edge of woodlands but it is very well adapted for growing in gardens.

Monkshood is popular among gardeners in cooler climates because they have beautiful flowers and will grow in the dappled shade tree areas of the garden along with; having resistance to a lot of possible diseases, and are deer resistant.

This plant blooms from July to the end of autumn.

The colours of Monkshood flowers range from blue, purple and pink to white, and the plants bloom continuously for two months. The flowers look especially beautiful in combination with the deeply cut green leaves.

Warning: This is a poisonous plant and no parts of the plant should be eaten along with avoidance of handling the plant if you have any open cuts or grazes. Keep away from children or animals that are likely to eat them.

How to Grow Monkshood

monkshood flower shade gardening

The Monkshood plant does not like extreme full sun or hot climates and prefers to grow in places with partial or dappled shade such as when using for an edging plant.

It likes to get some benefit of sunlight for around five or six hours a day but also likes to be partially protected from extreme heat by the dappled light from trees or hedging.

A soil should be rich and moist as would its natural forest edge leaf littered soil, with an added organic matter to make the plants sturdy and ensure sufficient amount of nutrients and water.

These conditions are necessary for Monkshood to bloom. If you imagine its natural environment being the edge of woodland, replicate that in your garden, and prevent the soil from drying out completely, it will reach its full potential.

The plants will therefore benefit if you add leaf litter to the soil as it will help serve the purpose of emulating their natural environment, especially if it is a clay soil.

Plant seeds outside in the Fall. Propagate by root ball division in Autumn or early Spring. Be advised they don't take well to being disturbed but if they become over crowded it will be a challenge for you. The reason they don't like to be disturbed is that they have brittle roots. A little tender loving care through the process will help you be successful in dividing these plants.

Maintaining Monkshood Plant

The plants are not capricious and, as I mentioned above, they are quite resistant to diseases and insects.

Ensure you plant them in the right location, follow the general instructions about fertilizing and watering, and enjoy the blooms for two months and more!

After the blooms are over, cut the stalks right down to the level of the ground and prevent the plant from seeding. If you do this you will get one more set of flowers in late summer.


This plant is toxic - all its parts are poisonous, you should avoid consuming them. Even dry Monkshood can be potentially dangerous if eaten.

If you have little children and pets, make sure the plants are out of their reach. Other than that, it is rather safe to grow so don't be put off by this.


There are lots of varieties available and choosing the most appropriate for growing in your garden is really down to your personal preference.

If you enjoy blue flowers, it is recommended to go for 'Blue Sceptre'. If you prefer deep purple ones; it is better to choose 'Bressingham Spire'. 'Bicolor' will cheer you up with its lovely blue and white bloom.

The latest hybrid of Aconitum (Monkshood) plant is 'Pink Sensation' with exquisitely beautiful pink and lavender flowers that give a softer touch of colour.

No matter which option you choose, your garden will look lively and cheerful with blooming Monkshood plants in it.


Monkshood is also known by Aconitum or Aconite, Turk's Cap, Friar's Cap, Women's Bane, Devil's Helmet, Blue Rocket, Wolf's Bane, and Leopard's Bane.

This dappled shade lover is about as disease resistant as you will find in a perennial flowering plant.

They bloom from midsummer to late fall in colors of blue, purple, pink or white. What makes this semi shade flower so delightful are the lasting blooms, 2 months!

Their height is between 3ft to 4ft with a spread of 1ft to 3ft. Another great feature is the deeply cut, dark green leaves that make the foliage an additional positive for your garden.

Humus rich, moist soil and well drained, for this plant. Add compost, leaf mould, and peat moss to aid in feeding the plant nutrients, as well as providing good drainage while keeping the soil moist.

There are many species, around 100, so have fun locating the right one for your garden.

Flower Shade Gardening