Aconite, Jupiter’s helm

Aconite is a flower native to mountainous areas that offers a beautiful blue and sometimes yellow blooming.

Aconite key facts

Name – Aconite napellus
Family – Ranunculaceae
Type – perennial

Height
 – 32 to 48 inches (80 to 120 cm)
Exposure – sun and part sun
Soil – ordinary, well drained

Flowering – May to October depending on the seasons

The floral scapes can grow to over 3 feet (1 meter) tall, which makes it an ideal plant to decorate the back of a flower bed.

Sowing and planting aconite

It is best to plant your aconite in September for proper root development before winter and good growing back in the following spring.

If you’re planting in spring, you’ll have to water regularly after planting.

  • Aconite loves all types of soil and even poor, dry soil.
  • Feel free to amend it when planting with fertilizer or compost.
  • It loves emplacements that receive part sun and are lightly shaded.
  • Avoid spots where the wind howls through, or else, simply stake the plant.
  • Keep a distance of 16 inches (40 cm) between plants.

Care, pruning of an aconite

Cut stems off after the blooming, this will trigger appearance of more new flowers.

For aconites, cut back to the shortest in fall and possibly protect the base of the plant in colder areas.

  • The tallest aconite varieties don’t stand to the wind well if not staked.

All there is to know about aconite

Also called wolf’s bane, this plant’s name comes from Latin aconitum which means poison.

But although this plant is poisonous, it is also a cute flower that bears distinctive long floral scapes that uphold beautiful blue or yellow flowers depending on the species.

Its great height, often taller than 3 feet (1 meter), makes it a good plant to settle at the back of a flower bed where it will produce an nice bushy backdrop.

It also makes for great bouquet flowers that will keep for a long time – even a bouquet of dried flowers!

Aconite and toxicity

Aconitum napellus is the most poisonous of the aconite species, and is probably one of the most toxic plants in temperate Europe.

Simply ingesting a little bit of the plant can lead to heart problems that can cause death.

The root, that looks like a turnip, is the most toxic part of the plant.

Aconite was used by hunters for poison on the tips of their spears and arrows, and more recently was used to get rid of wolves and foxes.

Smart tip about aconite

  • Cut a few aconite flowers off the bush in summer, and set them in a vase: you’ll be surprised at how long they last in such a bouquet!