Arnica montana is an upright, perennial herb growing to 12 – 24 inches in height and has a spread of about 8 inches. The leaves are downy and lance-shaped. They are fragrant and the lower ones are raised in a rosette. The blossoms are orange-yellow and there is usually only one per stem. Arnica blossoms in late spring through mid-summer. It can be grown successfully in zones 4–9. It has been used for a long time in folk medicine. Arnica ointment is used to treat bruises, sprains, varicose veins and other conditions. It is also used in homeopathy to treat epilepsy, high blood pressure, and shock. It is poisonous and should not be taken internally.
Scientific Name: Arnica montana
Common Names: Wolf’s bane, leopard’s bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica.
How to grow and maintain Arnica montana:
Arnica montana does best in full sun but will grow quite well in partial shade.
Arnica montana grows well in sandy loam, moist, well-drained and slightly alkaline soil. But also tolerates any type of soil. It prefers a pH range of 5.5–7.5.
These plants can withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water your plant regularly once per week or as needed to keep the soil moist. Try not to become the soil dry or soggy.
Feed with a good general all-purpose fertilizer such as 10-10-10 can be applied at the beginning of the growing season and will last all year.
It can be propagated by root division or by seed. Divide in spring. You can also take cuttings to root for new arnica plants during the summer months. Start sowing indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Give 60-70 degrees soil temperatures. Sow outside in the late spring when the soil warms up to 60 degrees.
The plant will be harvested immediately after flowering. The flowers are harvested in the second year of cultivation. When the plant blossoms, blooms are cut, including the peduncle, and allowed to dry before storing.
Pests and Diseases:
It is attractive to bees and other insects. The main danger of this crop is Tephritis arnicae fly. This insect can put larvae in flower heads. This is the reason why it is recommended to harvest the flowers immediately after flowering -to avoid this colonization-and to use stoves for drying flowers.