The Q&A Archives: Wolfbane

Question: I am a fan of the original "Dracula" with Bella Lugosi. In it they mention a plant called, "wolfbane." I am interested in finding a source for this plant so that I can try growing it in our yard. Can you help me?

Answer: Aconitum is commonly known as Wolfsbane or Monk's-hood. It's a much neglected old-fashioned perennial with mysterious, hooded, purple or white flowers borne majestically on stems of up to 8'. Because of its impressive size, and its fussy habits, not many gardeners grow it. Wolfsbane prefers part shade but withstands full sun if the soil is kept moist. Plant in cool, moist, well-amended soil with a pH of 5.0 to 6.0. Add well-rotted manure at planting time and mulch the soil with compost or other organic matter to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Stake the plants to keep them upright.

Seeds for Aconitum are available from Thompson & Morgan, Inc., PO Box 1308, Jackson, NJ 08527-0308.

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