The Q&A Archives: Starting Monkshood From Seed

Question: I would like to start some monkshood plants in a partly shaded perennial garden that I started this spring. I bought a packet of monkshood seeds and followed the directions for spring planting (place seeds in moist soil in freezer for 3 wks., then plant) No luck. None of the seeds germinated. Should I try planting seeds in the fall, or can I find plants in the spring?

Answer: Seeds of Aconitum, or Monk's Hood, can be difficult to start and can take up to 270 days to germinate! Try the following procedure with your next batch of seeds, beginning in the autumn: Sow seeds on the surface of moistened seed starting mix in trays or flats and sink these into the ground against a north-facing wall, covering with glass (or plexiglass). Moisten the soil as necessary. In the spring bring the flats indoors. Room temperature should force the seedlings to emerge. Remove the glass as soon as germination occurs and place the trays under a source of artificial light. Transplant into individual pots after 8 weeks, and then transplant into the garden when the plants are 6"-8" tall. Hope you have better luck with your Aconitum the second time around!

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