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Actaea are commonly known as Baneberry and feature eight species of perennials with jagged-edged leaves, tall stems of fluffy flowers and bright berries that come to life in the late Summer and early Autumn.
Actaea are a popular woodland garden plant that like sheltered, shady spots in the garden. Hailing from temperate climbs they feature attractively coloured leaves and tall, cylindrical stems of upright flowers that contrast the darker tones of the leaves and produce brightly coloured berries.
Actaea offers both dramatic leaves and impressive blossoms belonging to the buttercup family. They take a while to establish but once they do, they will provide late-blooming colour and impressive height later into the season than many other garden plants, giving you a beautiful show of colour beyond the typical Summer months. They are good for pollinators, attracting bees and butterflies. Birds enjoy their seeds too, so for wildlife these are excellent additions to the garden.
Actaea generally prefer a shady, sheltered spot where they can get moisture from rainfall, in a well-drained soil. Their flowers can grow up to 3 or 4 feet above the leaves, so placing in a shady spot that allows this height is ideal, particularly at the back of borders.
Actaea are fairly easy to care for being generally free from pests and diseases, although they can develop leaf spots. Avoid too much direct sunlight so that the leaves don’t get scorched in the hotter months. Cut back in October/November once flowering has finished. A rich, well fertilised soil is particularly preferable to these plants. They will need to be kept moist during the Summer months so that they don’t wilt, like many other plants.
Actea are renowned for producing tall, bright, upright flowers in the Autumn, adding a touch of drama to the garden as others start to fade. They flower in late Summer and early Autumn, adding some welcome colour to the garden that offers a haven to pollinators in the latter part of the season.