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Aconitum is commonly known as aconite, monkshood, wolf's bane, leopard's bane, mousebane, women's bane, devil's helmet, queen of poisons, or rocket. These herbaceous perennial plants are chiefly native to the mountainous parts of the Northern Hemisphere, growing in the moisture-retentive but well-draining soils of mountain meadows. Though grown in many gardens, these plants are extremely poisonous even to the touch, and must be dealt with carefully.

Aconitum are typically thrive in well-drained evenly moist garden soils like the related Hellebores and Delphiniums, and can grow in the shade of trees. Aconitum plants are typically much longer-lived than the closely related Delphinium plants. As with hellebores and some others in the family, they do not like to be moved once established.

All parts of the plant should be handled while wearing protective disposable gloves, and long sleeve clothing.

Type: Hardy perennial

Height: 3 to 5 feet

Location: Sun or shade

Hardiness zones: 3-9

Seeds per pack: 10

Note: This plant family is known to have toxicity. The ingestion of these seeds or this plant can cause serious illness or death. These seeds and plants should be handled with disposable gloves, as touching this plant can cause illness. Wear long sleeve clothing.

Germination: As with many perennial seeds, these seeds require a period of moist cold to help them begin to grow. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (artificial or natural), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:

Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Place the seeds just under the surface of your growing medium, and water. Place your container at room temperature for 2 weeks (they will not grow yet), and then place them in a clear plastic bag (to retain moisture), and in a refrigerator for 5-6 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container back at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Seedlings will sprout several weeks after the warming period. They require some patience, but are well worth the effort!

These seeds can also be planted in a cold frame outdoors in very early spring, while the temperatures are still cold and fluctuating, as long as you are able to keep the soil consistently moist. They will still need several weeks to germinate.

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