October Plant of the Month – Actea simplex (formally Cimicifuga)

Cimicifuga

(Actaea simplex)

Cimicifuga in garden

This plant is one of our absolute favourites and it’s easy to see why!

A rose by any other name…..

Scientists have proven that Cimicifuga are in fact from the Ranunculaceae family so should now be called Actea! Commonly known as Bugbane, you’ll probably still find these selling as Cimicifuga.

Other common names – Black Cohosh, Black Snakeroot, Fairy Candle.

We currently have two excellent varieties on offer.

Cimicifuga ramosa

Cimicifuga ramosa Atropurpurea
Each plant, when established, will throw up giant spikes up to 210 cm tall in July and August. The stems are black with racemes of stunning white flowers. A spectacular border plant with luscious bright green basal foliage. Winner of a RHS Award of Garden Merit, (see below for details).

 

POTM AGM

 

Cimicifuga Atropurpurea Brunette

Cimicifuga Atropurpurea Brunette. Luxurious dark chocolate brown-purple foliage is contrasted with beautiful white fragrant flower spikes that appear in late summer or early autumn and last for weeks. A fantastic upright habit, it can reach a height of up to 1.5m.
Luxurious dark chocolate brown-purple foliage is contrasted with beautiful white fragrant flower spikes that appear in late summer or early autumn and last for weeks. A fantastic upright habit, it can reach a height of up to 1.5m.

Cimicifuga, or Actaea are grown for their spectacular lush foliage, much like Hosta are, however where a Hosta’s flowers can be quite unremarkable, the rising spears of Actaea are simply stunning, with clustered racemes of dainty white flowers formed in midsummer.

Their sweet scent is a magnet for insects and they are a great source of nectar for butterflies and bees.

Companion Plants

Actaea really love to be planted in shade, and they are not alone! It can be quite daunting when you find yourself confronted with a North facing or shady garden, but don’t despair – there are far more shade loving plants out there than you think, including flowering varieties that will inject a bit of colour!

For more plants that are ideal for planting in shaded or North facing gardens read our article on Shade Gardening – CLICK HERE.

Planting

POTM October Cimicifuga

Cimicifuga will spread out so plant it where it has room to grow. It will thrive in cool positions, they will cope with full sun only if the soil is kept moist but well drained and not in boggy conditions. Ideally plant in full or semi shade. Make sure they are sheltered or protected from frost. This is a long lasting plant that can be slow to start and may not flower in its first year, when it does, deadhead spent flowers. Once established leave undisturbed, feed in late spring.

These are supplied as loose roots – for more information and a helpful video guide with step by step instructions on planting loose roots CLICK HERE.

5 thoughts on “October Plant of the Month – Actea simplex (formally Cimicifuga)”

    1. Hi Kath,

      You can buy 2 varieties on line with us by following this link – cimicifuga. I have also updated the article so you should be able to click on the images of the two main varieties and they will link directly to their product pages.

      Just select the variety you would like Cimicifuga Brunette has the chocolate coloured foliage, Cimicifuga racemosa has the vivid green foliage. When you have selected everything you want just click on the green checkout button at the top right of the screen and follow the instructions.

      These will be dispatched Oct/Nov depending on availability – all perennials are dependent on the weather as we only send them out when they have become dormant to guarantee they will successfully transfer into your garden.

      If you have any difficulty you can call our customer services on 0161 848 1100 open Mon-Fri 8am to 7pm and Sat/Sun 9am to 5pm.

      Hope that helps.

  1. Beautiful – but I’m sure they were ‘formerly’ called cimicifuga, though come to think of it they may have been formally called cimicifuga and informally bugbane. Whatever, they are lovely, thank you.

    1. Exactly right! They were formally cimincifuga and a lot of people still call them by that name – they are still commonly known as bugbane also.
      Thanks Paul 🙂

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