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My aconitums haved finished flowering - now setting seed, some of which has dried in situ, wih the rest still green. Should I cut it down to the ground (like other herbacious) or leave? Not fussed about it setting seeds, but want to make sure plant stays healthy and strong.

If you don't want the seeds for sowing or self sowing, then cut off the flower stalks so the plant transfers its energy from seed ripening to healthy roots and foliage, thus building a stronger plant for next year.


Alina W

Don't cut it to the ground, let it die back on its own and then remove the dead stems.

Thanks guys - have chopped them about half way down, some of the stems had flopped and made their way up to the light again so had u-bends in them, so cut to there. No lower leaves - eaten by gastropods I think, although I thought slugs dont eat them - cant think what else would?

Do aconitum benefit from Chelsea Chop? Trying to stop them growing so tall and then drooping under their own weight.

Aconitum are poisonous so not eaten by slugs.   However, when grown in thick clumps, mine lose their lower leaves which I assume is due to lack of light.  

I haven't tried the Chelsea chop on mine but you could experiment and do half of yours next year and see what happens.  You should get smaller, later flowering stems.  an alternative would be to provide support early in the season so they can grow up and cover it but not flop.



I am a keen devotee of the Chelsea chop but with aconitums no. They need to be supported early in the year and then they are impressively tall colourful plants. I have never known them eaten by anything. My best are grown in partial shade in good moist soil. I think their natural inclination is to lose their lower leaves

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