Black Cohosh

Actaea racemosa

Shade plant, deer resistant, needs moisture but is "fairly drought tolerant".
Host plant for Spring Azure butterflies.
A.K.A.: Cimicifuga racemosa, Bugbane, Black bugbane, Black snakeroot, Fairy candles. Repels bugs.
Grows to 4'-6' by 2'-3'
Blooms last 3 weeks between June - Sept.
Catalog picture:

The Black Cohosh was planted in the "azalea bed" in the side lot.

May 13, 2016:
It doesn't look any bigger than the Sept. 22 picture below, but it died down to the ground during the winter.

Sept. 22, 2015:


Black cohosh is most easily propagated by dividing the rhizomes in spring or fall [after 3 years]. Plants can also be started indoors from seed or seed can be directly sown into the ground, but rhizome divisions provide a more uniform plant stand and reduce the time from planting to root harvest.

To propagate by rhizome divisions, cut rhizomes into sections, 2 to 3 inches in length, making sure at least one bud is attached to each piece. Up to 15 buds can be on the rhizome of one black cohosh plant. Fibrous roots connected to the rhizome pieces should remain attached. In a well-prepared bed, 3 to 5 feet wide, plant the rhizome pieces deep enough to cover the top of the rhizome with 2 inches of soil. Stagger plantings 18 to 24 inches apart, making sure the bud is pointed upright when placing the rhizome pieces in the ground. Cover beds with at least 3 inches of shredded hardwood bark mulch or leaf mulch. Add mulch as needed throughout the life of the planting to retain soil moisture and retard weed growth. Roots should be ready to harvest three to five years after planting.

Maintenance and care. From

    Protect from direct sun and keep soil moist to prevent foliage from burning.

    Flower stalks may require staking.

    Leave seedheads on plants for fall and winter interest. Cut back in spring.

    Plants are slow-growing and seldom require division. Divide carefully in spring or fall.