Striking Black Cohosh Plants

Striking Black Cohosh Plants

Black cohosh plants are striking woodland natives that creates a strong vertical statement in a shade or border garden. Found in the eastern United States, black cohosh plants are herbaceous wildflowers with an affinity for moist, partially shaded growing areas. Black cohosh is a member of the Ranunculaceae family, Cimicifuga reacemosa, and commonly referred to as black snakeroot or bugbane. Growing black cohosh gets the name ‘Bugbane’ in reference to its unpleasant odor, which renders it repellent to insects. In order to plant black cohosh in the home garden, either purchase seeds from a reputable nursery or collect your own. To collect seeds, do so in the fall when the seeds are mature and have dried out in their capsules; they will have started to split open and when shaken make a rattling sound. Sow these seeds immediately.

Seeds for growing black cohosh plants must be stratified or exposed to a warm/cold/warm cycle to stimulate germination. To stratify the black cohosh seeds, expose them to 70 degrees F. (21 C.) for two weeks, and then 40 degrees F. (4 C.) for three months. Once the seeds have gone through this process, plant them 1 ½ to 2 inches apart and about ¼ inch deep in prepared moist soil that is high in organic matter and covered with a 1-inch layer of mulch.

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