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Actaea simplex 'Atropurpurea'

(Black Bugbane)

Rating: 🌻🌻🌻

Light: ☀️⛅

Deer resistant: yes 🦌

Moisture: well-drained soil

Moisture: not fussy

Size: 72” H x 24” W

Bloom: white or pale-pink bottlebrushes in September-October

Garden zone: 3

Size: 12” H x 18” W

Bloom: Bright yellow bracts form on the ends of each stem in May

Hardiness zone: 4

Actaea (formerly Cimicifuga) have basal cut-leaf foliage similar to Astilbe from which long arching stems emerge with faintly vanilla-scented bottle-brush pale blooms in late summer early fall. Actaea foliage comes in many shades, from plain green (Actaea simplex ‘White Pearl’) to nearly black (Actaea ‘Hillside Black Beauty’). We have found that the darker foliage Actaea are smaller, slower growing and more difficult to establish than the lighter foliage cultivars, although all Actaea will take several seasons to fully establish. ‘Atropurpurea’ has dark stem and green foliage, and can grow quite large. ‘Brunette’ is a good performing dark foliage selection with bronzy-purple foliage, and is slightly smaller than ‘Atropurpurea’. Actaea simplex will tolerate full sun with sufficient moisture. In dry conditions, the bottom leaves of Actaea may yellow and crisp, especially in sunny conditions. Deer have never bothered Actaea in our garden.