Hillside Black Beauty Bugbane (Actaea simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty’)

Hillside Black Beauty Bugbane

Dark and dramatic fine-textured foliage, the mysterious Hillside Black Beauty Bugbane (Actaea simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty’) is an incredible perennial with dark purple-maroon, coppery blushed, lacy leaves with a dark green undertone. They add depth and pensive color to the shade garden!

Black Beauty goes a step further and sends up tall and fragrant, fluffy spikes of pinkish buds that open into white blossoms that resemble Astilbe plants with their similar ferny foliage and flower plumes. The main difference between these two shade-loving plants is that Bugbane blooms later in the season around September and October. The narrow bottlebrushes attract bees and butterflies and look unique in the vase when paired with their lovely dark foliage.

Also known as Cohosh and Black Cohosh, Hillside Bugbane is hardy throughout USDA growing zones 4 to 8, and these herbaceous perennials grow to an impressive 4-5 feet in height when in flower and spreading to a 3-4 foot wide mound. Bugbane naturalizes into thickets by way of underground rhizomes and creates polite banks of dark foliage.

Planting and Application:

Hillside Black Beauty is fantastic for shade gardens and naturalizing in dappled shade wildflower gardens! Nearly as dark as the shade they thrive in, you can create contrast by pairing them with brighter foliage colors like variegated Hosta, bright green Bleeding Hearts, and lush speckled Lungworts. The foliage pairs beautifully with equally lacy Ferns and Astilbe too! Try off-setting the coppery undertones with Carmel Coral Bells or match them with Plum Pudding Coral Bells.

In full shade, the flowers will bend towards the direction of the sun! Bugbane also thrives in partial shade and looks fantastic as edging, border plants, and underplantings around larger shrubs and trees where they won’t mind the shade. Acting as facer shrubs, they hide larger shrubs with bare leggy stems! Pot up in large planters (underground or above) to stop any spreading – just ensure they have good drainage either way. You’ll gain a fancy thriller and spiller with dramatic dark leaves and late-season vertical blooms!

  • White Bottlebrushes With Purple Stems
  • Dark Near-Black Lacy Ferny Purplish-Maroon Leaves
  • Late-Season Bloom & Pollinator Friendly
  • Shade Gardens & Cut Flowers
  • Specimens, Naturalizing, Edging & Borders

Tips for Care:

Bugbane thrives in highly organically enriched, well-drained soil and loves regular moisture. Plant in either full shade or partial shade and baby them along as they work to get established. Afterward, Cohosh has no pest or disease issues. Mulch with 3-4 inches of arborist bark chips to keep the roots cool and moist.

  • Full Shade & Partial Shade
  • Moist Rich Well-Drained Soil
  • Disease and Pest Resistant
  • Clean Mounds in Early Spring & Divide Every 3-5 Years
  • Easy Care & Low Maintenance

Hillside Black Beauty Bugbane adds dramatic depth and unique color and form to your shade gardens!

Hillside Black Beauty Bugbane (Actaea simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty’) Details

Common name Hillside Black Beauty Bugbane
Botanical name Actaea simplex 'Hillside Black Beauty'
Plant type Perennial
Hardiness zone 5-8
Growth rate Medium
Height 4 - 5 ft.
Width 3 - 4 ft.
Sunlight Full Shade, Partial Shade
Moisture Medium
Soil condition Well Drained
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Pruning time Early Spring
Flower color White