Monkshood...for sun or for shade?

claire25(7)April 13, 2011

Hi there,

I'm trying for a cottage garden effect in my yard and decided to post here because of that.

My question: Assuming one lives in the mid-Atlantic (sultry summers, HOT sun) would 6+ hours of full sun be too much for Monkshood to handle(the species A. napellus in particular)? I keep reading contradictory information about this plant; those saying "full sun" seem to be English gardeners and, well, summer here is nothing like an English summer. I actually have an order of these plants on the way and was planning on planting them in my full sun front garden. I do have a place in the shade that they could go in, but it's very shady, with only early morning sun. So, for anyone growing this in a warm-summer location...should I grow it in sun or shade?



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these grow in great numbers in our eastcoast. So harsh winter, and really hot sun. They are meadow plants and so yes grow them in full sun.

BTW -- I hope you know monkshood is very poisonous - the type that kills. That means use gloves while handling them.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:58PM
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valree3(Nv zone 4)

Claire25 - Who did you order your monkshood plants from? I have only been able to find seed from Thompson and Morgan and I have had problems getting them started. Ianna -I know that they are poisonous but I have an old outhouse set way back in the yard and thought monkshood would look good planted on the side. Very little foot traffic near it. I use the outhouse as a tool shed. No small children and deer would be my biggest problem with the monkshood. They are a beautiful but deadly plant!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 10:04AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Monkshood can do well in full sun, but not in combination with dry soil. It gets pretty dry here in summer, so the monkshood I have planted in full sun is a somewhat moister situation. If you can keep the soil from drying out too much I think it would do just fine for you.

-valree3, what Ianna meant was that Aconitum is SO poisonous that if you handle the plant and have any scratches or open sores on your hands the poison can enter your bloodstream that way. By the way, Monkshood seeds are known for loosing viability fast, so best to get seeds that are fresh, if you can. ;-)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Thanks CMK. That's exactly what I meant. Although I should add some poisons can be absorbed into uncut s kin so wear proper gloves while handling them.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 3:27PM
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Thanks for the tips! I do have dry soil in my sunny spot (due to extremely sandy soil) so it may be best for me to plant them in the shadier area. It sounds like it really could go either way, though--I guess I'll make my final decision next week when they show up on my doorstep! :)

Valree3, I ordered my monkshood from Van Bourgondien. I also think American Meadows carries them, and for a surprisingly cheap price, but I like the folks at V.B. and so ordered from them instead.

Definitely appreciate the caution folks have urged with this plant, too. It's always best to respect Mother Nature, and plants like this are proof of the wisdom of doing so.

Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 7:33PM
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valree3(Nv zone 4)

Thanks to you all for answering my question! I just ordered 6 monkshood plants from Brecks. I'll look into Van Bourgondien web site to see if there is anything else that needs a new home. My next project is to paint the outhouse so that the monkshood can stand out for display. This is so exciting and cant wait to get my new babies!!!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 9:02AM
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lori_elf z6b MD

Shade. I don't think they would like hot & dry sun. Mine are planted in almost full shade and bloom well there.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 1:18PM
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