Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Aconitum napellus
Aconitum napellus

Click to Enlarge

Zones A1-A3, 1-9, 14-21, 34-45
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
All parts are poisonous if ingested.

Aconitum napellus

Garden Monkshood
Perennials, Flowers


Most members of this genus grow in mountain meadows, where they receive regular moisture and winter chill. They don’t thrive in warm, dry climates, but their distinctive, richly hued flowers make them worth trying. Grow them under trees, at the back of flower beds, or at the edge of a shaded bog garden. Attractive substitutes for delphinium in lightly shaded spots, they combine well with hosta, ferns, meadow rue (Thalictrum), and astilbe. Rich green leaves, usually lobed, emerge in clusters at the plant’s base. Stunning flowers, shaped like hoods or helmets, are held on tall spikes above the leaves. The flowers are good for cutting, but gloves are recommended when handling, as foliage may irritate skin.

Sow seeds in spring, or in late summer or early fall for bloom the next year. Plant in moist, rich soil for best growth and bloom. Divide in early spring or late autumn, or leave undivided for years. Aconites die back completely in winter, so mark the site. 

Aconitum napellus

Native to Europe. Upright leafy plants 2–5 ft. high and about 1 ft. wide. Leaves 2–5 in. wide, divided into narrow lobes. Late summer flowers usually blue or violet, in spikelike clusters.

You Might Also Like...

Cornus sericea

Grown for its brilliant red fall foliage and winter twigs; it should be cut back severely in late dorm...

Cornus sericea ‘Hedgerow’s Gold’

Foliage is variegated green and gold. Red stems.

Pinus sylvestris

From northern Europe, western Asia, and northeastern Siberia. Grows fast at first, then moderately to ...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More