Black cohosh or cimicifuga (lat. Cimicifuga ) is a perennial flowering plant, a representative of the Ranunculaceae family. It got its name for its valuable property – to scare away harmful insects from the site. Also, this culture is used to decorate open and shaded areas of the garden.
Leaf blades are elongated, serrated along the edge, thrice dissected, rich green. In the root zone, the leaves are collected in a lush rosette. In some varieties, the foliage has a bronze, red, blue and brown tint.
In the upper part of straight, strong stems, large cylindrical inflorescences develop. Their length can be more than half a meter. The flowers are small, with long stamens. The color of the buds depends on the variety.
The flowers open gradually, starting from the bottom of the inflorescence. Flowering of some species begins in July, others – in August and early September. Its duration is 1 month. The buds exude a strong sweet fragrance that attracts pollinating insects.
The fruits are leaflets containing up to 10 seeds. They can stay on the plant throughout the cold season. When growing black cohosh, it is worth remembering that it is poisonous, so you need to work with it only with gloves.
Species and varieties
Black cohosh ( Cimicifuga ramosa ). It is a perennial tall shrub, the stem of which can reach 2 m in height. Inflorescences racemose, oblong, consist of many small cream flowers. Flowering of this species begins in early September. The plant has beautiful orange foliage with a bronze or burgundy tint.
The best varieties of black cohosh branched:
“Carbonella” – valued for spectacular pinnately dissected burgundy foliage and white and pink buds.
“Atropurpurea” – the young foliage of this variety is bright green, gradually becoming a brick shade.
‘James Compto’ is a highly ornamental cultivar with dissected purple foliage and snow-white buds.
Black cohosh ( Cimicifuga simplex ). Bush up to 1 m high. It has a small cylindrical inflorescence, consisting of many white buds, which eventually change to purple. In rainy summers, this species may not bloom.
Popular varieties of black cohosh simple:
“Braunland” is a medium-sized variety up to 140 cm high. It has lush dissected green foliage with a brown tint.
‘White Pear’ is a spreading shrub with many long curved flower stalks. The foliage is deep green, the flowers are white.
“Armleuchter” – characterized by strong branching, as a result of which it forms a lush bush. Inflorescences consist of numerous white buds.
Black cohosh ( Cimicifuga racemose ). Reaches a little over 2 m in height. It has a candle-shaped inflorescence, which consists of white and creamy fragrant flowers. Flowering begins in mid-summer, lasts until early autumn. During this period, the plant looks truly luxurious.
Black cohosh ( Cimicifuga cordifolia ). It grows up to 150 cm. The beauty of the plant is given not only by elongated cylindrical creamy inflorescences, but also by pinnately dissected heart-shaped foliage. This variety is characterized by long flowering, pleasing the eye with its beauty for 1.5 months.
These photos illustrate the description of the black cohosh plant of various species and varieties:
Growing cimicifuga is a fairly simple task, since this flower is unpretentious, able to develop in any part of the garden. It is noteworthy that, unlike many other flowering plants, black cohosh prefers shaded areas. The place where cimicifuga grows should be closed from drafts and strong winds.
The best time for planting seedlings is April – May or the end of September. Before planting, you need to prepare the site in advance, that is, dig it up, add peat, sand, mineral composition.
Holes are made for seedlings with a depth of 30–40 cm. The distance between them should be 50–70 cm. A layer of drainage in the form of expanded clay or broken brick is laid on the bottom of the planting pit, after which some organic matter (manure or compost) is poured.
For planting young cimicifuga plants on the site, you should choose a fine day. The earthen lump is kept during planting. After planting, the hole is covered with a layer of soil, watered abundantly. The area near the seedling is mulched with dry foliage or sawdust. This will help retain moisture in the soil longer after watering and prevent weeds from growing.
Reproduction by division
If there is already a black cohosh on the site that has reached the age of 4 – 5 years, it can be propagated by digging a bush from the ground and carefully separating parts from it so that each has a rhizome. Delenki are immediately planted in a permanent place and they are cared for.
Growing from seed
You can get black cohosh with the help of seeds that are immediately sown on the site, or seedlings are grown from them. In the open ground, the seed is planted in the fall before the onset of frost. Already next year, lush flowering bushes will appear on the site. Sowing for seedlings is carried out at the end of February.
The seed is placed in containers filled with a light nutrient soil mixture. Germinate in a warm, bright room, watering periodically. After 2 months, the grown seedlings are transferred to a room with a temperature of 15 – 16 degrees and kept in such conditions for another month.
They are planted in open ground in the spring after the air warms up well. When planting seedlings, you need to carefully straighten the root system so that the roots are pointing down. After planting, the bushes need to be well watered.
Caring for black cohosh in the open field, with the right fit, is simple and easy. It is enough to carry out a number of standard procedures: water the plant, periodically fertilize, prepare for wintering.
- Watering. Cimicifuga is moisture-loving and has a negative attitude to the lack of moisture in the soil. That is why it can be planted near water bodies. With poor watering, foliage and buds will wither. However, excess moisture in the soil will lead to decay of the root system. It is important to observe moderation when carrying out water procedures. It is necessary to moisten the soil only after its top layer dries out. In normal times, this work is carried out after 2 – 3 days, on hot days – every other day.
- Topdressing. Black cohosh feels good on fertile substrates. If the gardener takes care of fertilizers at the time of planting, over the next 2 to 3 years it will not be necessary to fertilize the soil. For 3-4 years after planting, it will be necessary to enrich the soil with nitrogen-based mineral compounds to actively build up green mass. During the formation of buds, fertilizing with a content of phosphorus and potassium should be added to the soil. These trace elements contribute to abundant flowering. In autumn, in preparation for wintering, experienced gardeners replenish the stock of valuable substances in the soil with the help of organic matter.
- Preparing for the winter. It is believed that cimicifuga successfully endures wintering without shelter even in central Russia. However, in regions with little snowy winters, accompanied by low temperatures, it is recommended to cover it with spruce branches after pruning the above-ground part of the plant.
- Fight against diseases and pests. If you properly carry out the work of planting black cohosh seedlings in open ground, strong healthy plants with strong immunity to pests and diseases will grow. Weakened specimens can be attacked by powdery mildew, which appears with excessive watering, when the soil does not have time to dry out. Bordeaux liquid is used to eliminate the disease. In the future, watering is regulated.
Sometimes gardeners notice that cimicifuga does not bloom. Usually the absence of flowering is observed in a cold rainy summer. The complete absence of the sun, as well as the constant exposure to its direct rays, also negatively affects the flowering of this crop.
Application in landscape design
On personal plots, black cohosh is grown in single and group plantings. With the help of tall varieties create hedges, fences, decorate unattractive places in the garden. In addition, this culture is suitable for decorating flower beds, where it is planted in the background. With its help, artificial reservoirs are designed.
The most impressive cimicifuga looks in the central part of flower arrangements. This plant retains its attractiveness even after flowering due to its beautiful bright foliage.
It is planted along with those plants that quickly fade. Thus, they try to fill the voids that have appeared. Over time, the bush grows and becomes even more beautiful.
These photos demonstrate the use of black cohosh shrubs in landscape design: