Actaea simplex atropurpurea


A dramatic, stately perennial, this produces slender, bottlebrush-like, pale pinkish-white flowers in September and October above clumps of three-lobed, brownish-purple leaves. Its a useful plant, both because it comes into its own late in the season, when many flowers have finished, and because it thrives in damp shade. Try it at the back of a border, between evergreens. Avoid removing the faded flowerheads since they provide an interesting silhouette in the winter garden.


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Actaeas are moisture-loving members of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) and thrive in cool positions in either full or partial shade. They do not enjoy full sun or dry soil though, contrarily, will not thrive in bog gardens.They are long-lived, slow-growing plants that need their own space to do well. Once planted, they are best left undisturbed for several years. Feed during late spring with a slow-release fertiliser.The young foliage can be susceptible to late frosts, so choose a sheltered position.Established plants can be divided during spring, or you can grow them from seed. In common with all members of the Ranunculaceae, actaea seed does not survive long. Collect it when ripe and sow immediately. The seedlings should appear the following spring – though germination will be variable.
Position: Full or partial shade
Soil: Moist, fertile soil
Rate of growth:Moderate
Flowering period: Late summer
Hardiness: Hardy
Pot size:1L
Eventual height and spread:150cm x 50cm