Leopard’s Bane: Planting And Care – If you want to fill a patch of your bed or border with large and yellow daisy-like flowers, Leopard’s bane (the genus Doronicum of family Asteraceae, also known as aconite, monkshood, or Devil’s helmet) is the one to select when you also want earliness — in many herbaceous borders it is this plant which provides the first splash of bright color amongst the herbaceous perennials.
Leopard’s bane is an easy-going plant, useful for getting a flower border off to an early start, or for growing towards the front of a shrub border – it will tolerate a little light shade in your garden. Leopard’s bane involves no particular problems — provide some support for the stems and dead-head the spent blooms.
Keep watch for slug damage and cut the stems down to ground level in the fall. Divide the clumps and replant every three years.
Leopard’s bane varieties
Doronicum plantagineum bears 3 in. flowers – its basic details are height 2-3 ft, spacing ½ ft and flowering period April – June. There are 2 outstanding varieties: ‘Miss Mason’ (2 ft) and ‘Harpur Crewe’ (3 ft). Doronicum caucasicum is a smaller species (1 -1½ ft) with 2 in. flowers – it has produced the fully double variety ‘Spring Beauty’. The smallest leopard’s bane of all is also the first to flower – D. ‘Gold Dwarf’ (6 in).
Site and soil
Leopard’s bane is a very uniform plant, so it works well as an edging plant, in garden containers, or in small spaces when planted from flower seeds. Any reasonable garden soil will do – thrives in full sun or partial shade.
Spring bulbs especially narcissus, tulips, scilla; Campanula glomerata, Brunnera, Phlox divaricata, Phlox subulata ‘Atropurpurea’, Mertensia virginica, Pulmonaria.
Divide clumps in fall or spring.