Bugbane Actaea simplex 'Pink Spike'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
baneberry 'Pink Spike'


The plant Actaea simplex 'Pink Spike', commonly known as Baneberry 'Pink Spike', possesses a visual appeal that is characterized by its distinctive colored spike-like flowers. These blooms exhibit a soft pink hue which exudes a sense of delicacy and subtle charm. The flowers are gracefully arrayed in elongated clusters that rise above the foliage, presenting a striking contrast against the verdant leaves below. The leaves of the Baneberry 'Pink Spike' are divided into numerous leaflets, creating a dense and deeply dissected foliage that has a somewhat fern-like appearance. The texture of the leaves is lush, contributing to the plant's overall bushy and luxuriant presence in the garden. The leaf color is typically a deep green, setting off the pink flowers beautifully and providing a rich backdrop for the inflorescence. As for the blossoms themselves, they are not just remarkable for their color but also for their slender, spiky form that lends the plant its common name. The flower spikes add vertical interest to the garden composition, making it a favorite among gardeners who desire to imbue their spaces with layers and varied forms. The blooms typically appear later in the growing season, offering a fresh burst of color when many other plants have finished their display. Baneberry 'Pink Spike' is also noted for its ability to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, adding to the biodiversity and dynamic life in the garden. The visual texture, color, and form of the Baneberry 'Pink Spike' make it a distinguished and captivating choice for enhancing ornamental gardens.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Bugbane, Fairy Candles, Cohosh, Snakeroot

    • Common names

      Cimicifuga simplex, Actaea matsumurae, Actaea japonica, Actaea simplex var. matsumurae.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as baneberry is toxic to humans. All parts of the baneberry plant, including the berries, are poisonous if ingested. The toxicity is due to the presence of compounds such as cardiogenic toxins which can have an immediate sedative effect on human cardiac muscle tissue. Symptoms of baneberry poisoning can include dizziness, stomach cramps, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and in severe cases, seizures, cardiac arrest, or respiratory failure. Ingestion of baneberry can result in serious medical consequences and requires immediate medical attention.

    • To pets

      Baneberry is also toxic to pets. Similar to humans, all parts of the baneberry plant are poisonous when ingested by animals. The toxic principles can affect the heart and nervous system. Symptoms of baneberry poisoning in pets can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, heart rhythm disturbances, and tremors. In severe cases, seizures, difficulty breathing, or even death can occur. If a pet ingests baneberry, it is considered a veterinary emergency.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      4-7 feet (1.2-2.1 meters)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attractive Foliage: The plant has deeply cut, lacy leaves that provide a textural component to garden designs.
    • Seasonal Interest: 'Pink Spike' boasts tall, bottlebrush-like, pink flowers that bloom in late summer to early autumn, adding color to the garden when many other flowers have finished blooming.
    • Pollinator Friendly: The flowers attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to the garden, which can help to pollinate other plants and support local ecosystems.
    • Shade Tolerance: Cimicifuga is well-suited for shaded areas of the garden where many other flowering plants may struggle to thrive.
    • Dramatic Height: The plant's tall flower spikes can reach up to 6 to 7 feet, which make them ideal for adding vertical interest to the landscape.
    • Deer and Rabbit Resistant: The foliage and flowers are generally resistant to browsing by deer and rabbits, making it a good choice for areas where these animals are present.
    • Easy to Grow: It is relatively low maintenance, requiring minimal care once established in the appropriate conditions.
    • Autumn Berries: After the flowering season, the plant produces berry-like fruits which can also add interest to the fall garden.
    • Cold Hardy: Cimicifuga can survive and thrive in cooler climates, making it suitable for a range of hardiness zones.
    • Combinability: Its distinct foliage and flower form make it an excellent companion for other perennials, adding diversity to plantings.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Actaea simplex 'Pink Spike', commonly known as bugbane, can be used as a natural dye for fabrics, imparting a soft beige or yellow tint depending on the mordant used.
    • The seed pods of bugbane can be dried and used in floral arrangements to add an interesting textual element to the display.
    • Bugbane plants can be strategically placed in a garden to create a vertical accent due to their tall flowering spikes.
    • The dried leaves of bugbane may be used in potpourri mixes for their shape and contribution to the texture of the mix.
    • The root system of bugbane can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion on sloped areas of a garden.
    • Landscape designers sometimes use bugbane as a natural backdrop for autumn displays due to its late blooming period and height.
    • Gardeners might use bugbane as a natural way to create shade for smaller plants that require indirect sunlight.
    • In photography, the striking flowers of bugbane can serve as a subject for botanical photography to highlight the beauty of native plants.
    • For gardeners interested in moon gardens, where plants are chosen for their night visibility, bugbane's pale flowers can be a valuable addition due to their light reflecting properties.
    • The robust nature of bugbane allows it to serve as a companion plant in gardens, where it can provide shelter for smaller, more delicate species.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Actaea simplex is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Actaea simplex is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Mystique: The Actaea simplex 'Pink Spike', commonly known as the Bugbane, carries a sense of mystique due to its tall, feathery spires of pink flowers that bloom in late summer and have a somewhat ethereal appearance.
    • Protection: Historically, Bugbane was thought to repel bugs and was planted near homes for this purpose, symbolizing protection against the small annoyances of life.
    • Femininity: The delicate pink flowers may symbolize femininity and the softer qualities associated with it, such as grace and gentleness.
    • Transition: As Bugbane blooms in the transitional period from summer to autumn, it can symbolize change or the passage of time.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Early Spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    For the pink spike bugbane, it is recommended to provide a thorough watering when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. This could be approximately once a week, depending on environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity. When watering, soak the soil around the plant until water begins to run out of the bottom of the pot, which might be around 1-2 gallons depending on the size of the plant and the pot. It's vital to avoid letting the plant sit in water, as this can lead to root rot. During the winter months, reduce the frequency of watering as the plant's growth slows down.

  • sunLight

    Pink spike bugbane thrives best in partial shade, where it can receive filtered sunlight or a few hours of morning sun followed by shade in the afternoon. The ideal spot for pink spike bugbane would avoid the intense heat of the midday sun which can scorch its leaves. A position that provides dappled sunlight beneath tall trees or behind slightly taller plants would be suitable.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The pink spike bugbane prefers cooler temperatures and can generally withstand temperatures down to about 0°F for short periods. The ideal growing temperature for this plant ranges between 60°F and 70°F. It's important to protect the plant from extreme heat, as prolonged exposure to temperatures above 80°F may stress the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning pink spike bugbane can encourage a tidier plant structure and promote more vigorous growth. After the flowering period, usually in late fall, you can cut back the spent flower spikes to maintain the plant's appearance. Pruning can be done annually, as the plant prepares to go dormant for the winter. Removing dead or damaged foliage at this time will also help prevent disease.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Baneberry (Actaea simplex 'Pink Spike') thrives best in moist, well-draining soil rich in organic matter. The ideal soil mix for Baneberry can consist of garden soil, compost, and a bit of perlite or sand to improve drainage. This plant prefers slightly acidic to neutral pH levels, ranging from 6.0 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Baneberry does not need to be repotted often, typically every 2-3 years or when it becomes root-bound. It is best done in the spring before new growth begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Baneberry prefers moderate to high humidity levels but is quite adaptable to average household humidity when grown indoors.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Baneberry in bright, indirect light and ensure high humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Baneberry in partial shade with moist, rich soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life cycle of Actaea simplex ‘Pink Spike’, commonly known as Baneberry or Bugbane, begins with seed germination, which typically occurs in moist soil conditions in a shaded or partially shaded area. Seedlings emerge and develop into juvenile plants, which may take several years to mature before they are ready to flower. Once mature, these perennial plants produce tall, upright flowering spikes with pink flowers in late summer to early fall. After pollination, usually by insects, the flowers develop into small inedible berries. Throughout the winter, the plant dies back to the ground, conserving energy in its rhizome. In spring, new growth emerges from the rhizome, restarting the cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early Spring

    • The most popular method for propagating Actaea simplex 'Pink Spike', commonly known as Baneberry, is by division. This is typically done in early spring or just after the plant finishes blooming. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the entire plant, making sure to keep a good amount of soil around the roots. Using a sharp knife or spade, split the clump into smaller sections, ensuring that each section has at least a couple of growth buds or shoots and a portion of the root system. Replant the divisions at the same depth they were growing originally, spaced about 18 to 24 inches (about 45 to 60 centimeters) apart to allow for growth. Water the new plants thoroughly to help establish them. Division is a quick way to create new plants that will be exact replicas of the parent and will usually flower within a year.