Do you need a pretty yellow spring bloomer? Winter Aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, is also called Yellow Wolves Bane. You plant this tiny bulb in the fall and the trick to getting them established is to plant them as soon as you get them and look for nurseries that package them specially or dip them in wax so that they don’t dry out before planting. They can be planted in part shade to sun conditions in just about any soil, although they prefer organically rich humus soil. Winter Aconite is hardy in zones 5-7.
The pretty shiny yellow flowers of Winter Aconite bloom when the early crocus bloom with their flowers held above the palm shaped leaves. The flowers close at night and on cloudy days. Winter Aconite will spread quickly in a good location and fill it with color. If you are troubled with crocus and other bulbs being eaten by squirrels and mice plant Winter Aconite instead. The bulbs are poisonous and animals don’t eat them. Deer won’t eat the plants or flowers either. Make sure that kids and pets can’t eat the plants or bulbs.
Winter Aconite will naturalize under deciduous trees and is good for the edges of woodland gardens. You can also plant them along paths, in rock gardens, or near patios for early color. The leaves die back in summer so you may need to mark the spot they are planted so as not to disturb them with new fall plantings. Don’t remove the leaves until they had yellowed and dried on their own. Winter Aconite does not like transplanting and if you move some, re-plant the dug bulbs immediately. Seed is sometimes offered for Winter Aconite but it may take 2 years before seed started plants bloom. The plants spread both by seed and by creating new bulbs.
This small bulb deserves to be more widely planted. It’s hardy and deer proof and a great start to spring.