DESCRIPTION: Beautiful chocolate-purple, fragrant foliage and long, airy upright spikes of white flowers; prefers moist, but well-drained soil; use this plant primarily for its wonderful contrasting leaves.  BOTANICAL NAME: Actaea racemosa 'Brunette'OTHER NAMES:...
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DESCRIPTION: Beautiful chocolate-purple, fragrant foliage and long, airy upright spikes of white flowers; prefers moist, but well-drained soil; use this plant primarily for its wonderful contrasting leaves. 

BOTANICAL NAME: Actaea racemosa 'Brunette'
OTHER NAMES: Baneberry, Fairy Candle, Black Snakeroot, Black Cohosh
AVERAGE MATURE HEIGHT: 150-180 cm

AVERAGE MATURE SPREAD: 60-75 cm
SUN EXPOSURE: Full sun to full shade
FLOWER COLOUR: White
FLOWERING TIME: Fall
FOLIAGE COLOUR: Deep green to purple black
COLD HARDINESS: Zone 4 ( Should survive up to -34.4° Celsius )
WATER NEEDS: Average
OTHER FEATURES: Attractive Foliage, Border, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Fragrant, Rabbit Resistant

Ornamental Features

Brunette Bugbane is blanketed in stunning spikes of fragrant white flowers with shell pink overtones rising above the foliage from mid to late summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its attractive deeply cut compound leaves emerge burgundy in spring, turning dark green in colour throughout the season. The brown fruits are carried on spikes from late summer to late winter. The deep purple stems are very colourful and add to the overall interest of the plant.

Landscape Attributes

Brunette Bugbane is an herbaceous perennial with tall flower stalks held atop a low mound of foliage. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Brunette Bugbane is recommended for the following landscape applications:

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Brunette Bugbane will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selection of a native North American species. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Brunette Bugbane is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, most plants cannot be expected to survive the winter if left in containers outdoors, and this plant is no exception.

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