Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder:
Great Companions
Obedient Plant Obedient Plant
Physostegia virginiana 'Miss Manners'
Japanese Anemone Japanese Anemone
Anemone hupehensis var. japonica 'September Charm'
Stonecrop Stonecrop
Sedum x 'Autumn Joy (Herbstfreude)'

Aconitum napellus

Common Monkshood, Friar's Cap

The classic monkshood of your grandmother’s garden, this proven garden favorite is perfect for cutting gardens, perennial borders, and cottage gardens. Makes an excellent cut flower, but care should be taken not to get any sap on open wounds.

Heirloom favorite
Vibrant violet flowers
Attractive foliage
Height: 3-4 Feet
Spread: 1-2 Feet
Zone: 3-7
Color: Violet Blue

Common Monkshood Characteristics & Attributes

Part Shade
Soil Moisture Needs
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Critter Resistance
Deer Resistant
Growth Rate
Accent Plant
Moist Sun
Cut Flower
Perennial Border
Homeowner Growing & Maintenance Tips for Common Monkshood

Aconitums should be planted in full sun but will tolerate afternoon shade. They also tolerate moist soils but should not be planted in swampy conditions. Best planted in fall. Does not transplant well once established, but tuberous roots can be used for propagation by carefully separating them from their mother plants and transplanting them in the fall.

Interesting Notes

Aconitum, or monkshood, received its common name from the appearance of its flowers which have enlarged, hood-shaped sepals that hide the rest of their floral parts. According to Armitage, roots of this plant “were used as poison bait for wolves, thus accounting for another popular common name, wolfsbane. All aconitums have poisonous roots, leaves, and stems; warnings concerning their poisonous properties have been sounded since the late 1500’s.”

The fleshy, tuberous roots are especially toxic and due to their appearance, should not be planted near tuberous food crops such as potatoes, horseradish, or Jerusalem artichokes.  With that said, Aconitum is a superb garden plant of stately beauty.