Difficult plants to grow in most of the South, as they dislike extended summer heat, drought, and mild winters. Sow seeds in moist, fertile, well-drained soil in late summer or autumn for flowers the following year. Seedlings started in spring may take a year to bloom. Aconite combines effectively with hosta, ferns, meadow rue (Thalictrum), and astilbe in lightly shaded gardens; it can also substitute for delphinium in shade. Plants are seldom browsed by deer.
A. carmichaelii. Native to central China. Densely foliaged plant 24 ft. high, nearly as wide. Leathery, dark green leaves are lobed and coarsely toothed. Blooms from late summer into fall; deep purple-blue flowers form dense, branching clusters 48 in. long. Selections of the Wilsonii group grow 68 ft. high and 12 ft. wide, has more open flower clusters 1018 in. long. 'Arendsii' grows 2-4 ft. high, blooms azure blue, and may be the best for the South.
A. napellus. GARDEN MONKSHOOD. Native to Europe. Upright, leafy plants 25 ft. high, up to 1 ft. wide. Leaves 25 in. wide, divided into narrow lobes. Spikelike clusters of typically blue or violet flowers in late summer.
A. selections and hybrids. The following grow to about 312 ft. tall, 1 ft. wide. Leaves are deeply cut.
'Bressingham Spire'. Upright plant with deep violet blossom spikes from midsummer to early fall. Glossy, dark green leaves.
'Eleonara'. White flowers edged in bluish purple; early summer bloom. Glossy, deep green leaves.
'Stainless Steel'. Steel blue flowers in loosely branched spikes bloom in midsummer. Dark grayish green leaves.