First cultivated in the mid-1500s, Aconitum derivatives were used as both a medicine and a poison, and an unwanted husband might have easily met his end while drinking his dear wife’s tonic. Simply Medieval! Leaves, stems and roots are poisonous, but the stately Aconitum still deserves a place in our gardens because of the unusual blooms it hoists in abundance on stalwart stems. An excellent cut flower, unique for its large draped sepal, Aconitum loves cool summer nights, moist, but not wet soil and protection from the heat of the day. Perfect in the border or at woodland’s edge, their bold presence makes an engaging companion to Anemone, Helenium and late-blooming Persicaria.
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