Actaea Pink Spike

Actaea (syn Cimicifuga) are ideal plants for moist soil in shade, or for the coloured leaf types like pink spike, half sun/shade. They are late bloomers. Pink Spike is a fairly new variety with purple-bronze leaves, dark purple buds and pink-tinged, white flowers in September. The flower spikes stand tall above the leaves to 5-6ft

Even before the flowers open the buds add architectural impact to the border throughout August

The curling stems and buds are tactile and strangely fascinating

The mound of leaves get their best colour in a partly sunny spot. Mine are planted where they get some shade from early afternoon until early evening. My soil tends to be a bit dry in summer and without this shade the leaves might scorch. In constantly moist soils this is less of a problem.

The flowers open in late August or early September and are strongly fragrant reminding me of bubblegum

Pink Spike is an ideal partner with other moisture lovers like Helenium

Over the course of a few years the clumps expand to put on a grand show. Propagation is by division in late winter before the dormant buds burst open. I break mine into individual buds before replanting with just poking through the soil

Similar varieties can be grown from seed (e.g. A. simplex atropurpurea) and these can take 2 to 3 years to germinate - so be patient

Hover flies, bees and butterflies abound on the flowers

Place a seat near the plants in flower to enjoy the show of colour, buzz of bees and heavenly scent

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