How to Grow Arnica

Overview

Arnica Montana, also called Leopard's bane, Wolf's bane and Mountain Tobacco, is a perennial herb indigenous to the mountain pastures of Central Europe. Arnica has been harvested for medicinal purposes sing the 1500s. Arnica's daisy-like flower and rhizome are dried or made into poultices, tinctures, powders or gels and used to treat skin ailments. Arnica plants grow well outdoors in USDA plant-hardiness Zones 5 to 8, which means these plants can withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. You can grow arnica plants from seed in the spring, germinating them indoors and transplanting them outdoors in May.

Step 1

Sow your arnica seeds in early spring. Plant the seeds in a shallow dish filled with a moist mixture of equal parts loam, peat and sand. Push the seeds just below the surface of the mix.

Step 2

Keep the arnica seeds in a cold frame or a greenhouse at 55 degrees Fahrenheit until May. Mist the potting medium with a water spray bottle to keep it moist. Place the dish in bright indirect sunlight.

Step 3

Transplant the seedlings outdoors in May, after the last frost has passed and the seedlings have germinated. Choose a planting site that receives good indirect sunlight and has well-drained soil.

Step 4

Water your arnica plant once per week or as needed to keep the soil moist. Because arnica plants thrive in nutrient-poor soils, you do not need to fertilize them.

Step 5

Pick off the whole flowers in mid- to late summer. Dry the flowers on a tray lined with paper towels placed in an airy room. Dig up and collect the root after the leaves have died in autumn.

Tips and Warnings

  • Beware that arnica seeds can be slow to germinate, so you may not be able to transplant the seedlings outdoors until summer.

Things You'll Need

  • Arnica seeds
  • Shallow dish
  • Loam
  • Peat
  • Sand
  • Water spray bottle
  • Trowel
  • Tray
  • Paper towels
  • Pitchfork

References

  • Botanical.com: Arnica
  • Grow'Em Plant Propagation Database: Arnica Montana
  • Chinese-Herbs.org: Arnica Montana as Herbal Remedy

Who Can Help

  • American Cancer Society: Arnica
Keywords: grow arnica, grow Leopard's bane, grow Wolf's bane

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.