The monkshood plant is commonly called Aconitum napellus, this plant is a perennial plant grown for its lacy, light green foliage and tall spikes of bluish-purple flowers. Aconitum napellus can survive throughout USDA plant hardiness zones four to eight. The monkshood plants are sensitive to temperature extremes and must be grown under shade in warmer areas. Aconitum napellus grows reliably from seeds when they are exposed to cold temperatures for several weeks to break their dormancy. This can be accomplished by sowing the monkshood plant seeds directly in the garden in autumn, or by cold-stratifying them before sowing them indoors. 


Growing Monkshood from Seed Indoors

Step 1: You have to put on a rubber gloves when handling the monkshood seeds since all parts of the plant are highly toxic and the poison can easily be absorbed through the skin.

Step 2: Place the monkshood plant seeds in a plastic bag that is filled with moistened paper towel ten weeks before the last spring frost. Chill them in a refrigerator for about 3 weeks before sowing.

Step 3: Fill in a 3-inch starter pots with perlite-enhanced potting soil. Then trickle water into each of the pot until the soil feels saturated and the water dribbles from the drainage holes at the base.

Step 4: You can sow one monkshood seed in each of the pot. Bury the monkshood seeds at a 1/16-inch depth. Then cover them with a very loose layer of soil. Make sure you mist the soil heavily to settle it rather than firming it with your fingers.

Step 5: You have to place the starter pots on a lightly shaded windowsill where temperatures actually stay between 55 to 60 F. Shield the pots from direct afternoon sun in other to keep the soil from drying out too quickly. 

Step 6: You need to maintain constant moisture in the top ½ inch of the soil using a spray bottle. Make sure you water whenever the soil feels barely moist on the surface to prevent it from completely drying out.

Step 7: Germination will take place approximately one month. You have to decrease watering slightly after the monkshood seeds germinate. Make sure you allow the top ¼ inch of soil to dry out before adding more water.

Step 8: Transplant the Aconitum napellus seedlings into a partly shaded bed with moist, fast-draining soil 1 week after the last frost. Space the plants one to two feet apart, then mulch heavily between the plants.


Growing Monkshood from the Seed Outdoors

Step 1: Start by preparing a shady bed with a fast-draining soil 2 weeks after the first light frost in autumn to ensure that the soil and the air temperatures are cool. You need to weed the site thoroughly and amend the top six inches of soil with a three inch-thick layer of compost.

Step 2: Sow the Aconitum napellus seeds six inches apart. Spread a 1/16-inch-thick layer of loose soil over the Aconitum napellus seeds. Spray the bed lightly with water to settle the soil onto the Aconitum napellus seeds. 

Step 3: Make sure you maintain constant moisture in the top inch of the soil while the Aconitum napellus seeds germinate. Wait to add more water until the soils' surface feels barely moist.

Step 4: Thin the Aconitum napellus seedlings to one every twelve to eighteen inches after germination, which actually takes about one month.

Step 5: You can spread a 1-inch-thick layer of mulch around each Aconitum napellus seedling to keep their roots cool and moist. You can water to 2-inch depth if no rain falls for longer than one week. 

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