Actaea

Black Snakeroot

A botanical "Renaissance Man", Actaea is at home in an informal garden, a refined border or in an arrangement for opening night at the Met. Their ambrosial perfume floats through the air as they brighten their surroundings. Actaea is happiest in moist, humus-enriched soil and bright shade; otherwise it´s carefree and low maintenance.

An 1805 discovery by German-born Frederick Pursh in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, this superb hard-to-find American native sprouts broad ample-sized foliage, distinctive for its handsome Maple-like appearance. Straight emerald-hued steadfast stems, bearing fragrant creamy white floral candles, tower above a leafy verdant clump. Appalachian Bugbane can be ensconced near Athyrium 'Ghost', where it vows luminous late season accents, deer resistance and easy care.

Blooms July–September.

Size: 4' 0" – 4-1/2' high x 2' 0" – 2-1/2' wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

A superior South Korean selection recently introduced by Darrell Probst, this compact courtly Actaea furnishes lush verdant layers of jagged-edged, shiny green leaves, clasping blackish purple stalks. The dark pearl-shaped buds plus tiny snow white blossoms embellish tall close-set glittering candles that gracefully herald the season’s end.

Blooms August–September

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Promising three season appeal for the woodland garden, this marvelous soft-looking East coast native is a Dr. Richard Lighty selection from Delaware’s esteemed Mt. Cuba Center. Its handsome glaucous clump of finely cut silvery blue-green foliage hosts small starburst-like creamy white blooms on short stalks in spring and several months later, wondrous round white berries, each tattooed with a distinctive black spot at the tip and poised upon a striking bright red pedicel. Long-lived White Baneberry crafts an exceptional multistemmed ground cover that favors moist well-drained soil.

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Zone 3/4.

<i>Actaea racemosa</i> <i>Actaea racemosa</i>

Long wandlike, creamy white flower racemes seem to dangle and dance on invisible stems above clumps of Astilbe-like foliage. Try this Actaea (Cimicifuga) in a naturalized setting, under a tall canopy at the back of the border, next to leafy Ligularia.

Blooms July–August.

Size: 5' 0" – 6' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Actaea simplex</i> ‘Atropurpurea’

Grown from seedlings carefully selected for dark, coppery purple foliage, the regal profile of ‘Atropurpurea’ shows its good breeding. A garden dweller with a staid bearing, its stately reddish purple stems soar above your head, displaying dense spires covered with round mahogany-hued buds and sweet pouffes of white.

Echo this Actaea’s somber tones by bringing it together with Angelica gigas, and let the lime green foliage of Physocarpus ‘Dart’s Gold’ brighten the mood.

Blooms August–September.

Size: 6' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Noted around town for her purple-black leaves and stems, this ‘Brunette’ is sure to turn some heads with the gentle way of her graceful, ferny foliage. At the back of the border, amidst the chaos of more summery greens, this dark lady’s shadow lingers long before offering up arching racemes of fragrant, slightly blushed white flowers. One of the most sought-after cultivars, ‘Brunette’ is another incredibly lovely dark foliage selection of Actaea (Cimicifuga) simplex seedlings.

Blooms August–September.

Size: 5' 0" – 6' 0" high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Midnight dark, lean lofty stems culminate in honey-scented, long pale pink spires stretching skyward above a refined, Ariel-like mass of sumptuous, chocolatey purple serrated foliage. This splendid garden aristocrat casts a decidedly feminine aspect on Geranium m. ‘Espresso’s coffee-colored leaves.

Blooms August – October.

Size: 5' 0" high x 2' 0" – 2-1/2' wide.

Zone 3/4.

Surprisingly underused, ‘White Pearl’s bright white, bottlebrushlike blossoms and large pearly buds will light up a somber setting just like the animated glow of a 4th of July sparkler. The good-sized ambrosial flowers unfurl later than most other Actaeas, while their densely set stalks are more arching than racemosa’s.

Tolerating drier, less rich soils, deceptively tough wiry stems and finely cut, toothed foliage compose the medium green nimble-looking stand which slowly spreads.

Blooms September–October.

Size: 4' 0" high x 2-1/2' wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

  • Catalog Navigation Menu Top
  • Perennials at Digging Dog Nursery
    • Perennials: Acaena to Anthemis
    • Perennials: Anthriscus to Astrantia
    • Perennials: Baptisia to Cynoglossum
    • Perennials
    • Perennials: Fallopia to Gunnera
    • Perennials: Haloragis to Inula
    • Perennials: Kirengeshoma to Morina
    • Perennials: Nepeta to Pulmonaria
    • Perennials: Rheum to Succisella
    • Perennials: Teucrium to Yucca
  • Ornamental Grasses at Digging Dog Nursery
    • Grasses: Acorus to Deschampsia
    • Grasses: Elymus to Uncinia
  • Shrubs at Digging Dog Nursery
    • Shrubs: Arctostaphylos to Halimiocistus
    • Shrubs: Hebe to Weigela
  • Trees & Vines
  • List by Genus
  • Gift Certificates
  • T-Shirts
  • Gift Cards & Etchings
  • Slideshow
  • Gallery
  • Catalog Navigation Menu Bottom

Latest News

Chillin' in Autumn 2018!

Digging Dog Nursery's Chillin' in Autumn sale is here!

Purchase a minimum of $100…MORE

Digging Dog's Late October Newsletter is on it's way to your inbox!

Meadow-style perennials, Chillin’ in Autumn Sale, Lively late season plants!

Pollinator-friendly Meadow-style perennials…MORE



Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Helianthus 'Sheila's Sunshine', Persicaria 'Summer Dance', and Selinum wallichianum

Helianthus ‘Sheila’s Sunshine - P-0461

The sunflower was once an emblem of the Sun God of the Incas. Our sunflowers tolerate a wide range of garden soils, attract bees, and make great cut flowers. Blooms early August – October.

Persicaria ‘Summer Dance’ - P-1312

With foliage that’s close to lime-green, and spiky floral tails that approach the scarlet spectrum of rosy pink, this slow spreading perennial is sure to please. Happiest in semishade with ample moisture. Blooms August–November.

Selinum wallichianum - P-1406

This refined Himalayan beauty happens to be one of our favorite perennial umbellifers. With untold elegance, infinitely divided leaves craft a delicate, lacelike transparency. The compact yet airy green canopy is framed by distinctive, purple-infused branching stems that elevate a charming, late season display of white flattened umbels.

Subduing the riotous array of summertime blooms, it seldom needs staking, and appreciates a well draining moist niche. Blooms June–August.

Digging Dog Nursery Right Border