Plant Finder

Chocolate Boneset flowers

Chocolate Boneset flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Chocolate Boneset foliage

Chocolate Boneset foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 12 inches

Spacing: 10 inches


Hardiness Zone: 3b

Other Names: White Snakeroot; Joe Pye Weed

Ornamental Features

Chocolate Boneset has masses of beautiful plumes of lightly-scented white flowers at the ends of the stems from late summer to mid fall, which are most effective when planted in groupings. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its attractive large serrated narrow leaves emerge purple in spring, turning dark green in colour throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant. The burgundy stems are very colorful and add to the overall interest of the plant.

Landscape Attributes

Chocolate Boneset is an herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its wonderfully bold, coarse texture can be very effective in a balanced garden composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It is a good choice for attracting butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Chocolate Boneset is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Chocolate Boneset will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 10 inches apart. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It is quite adaptable, prefering to grow in average to wet conditions, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selection of a native North American species. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Ageratina altissima ‘Chocolate’

I planted five of these plants last Spring and they did really well. They died back over the winter. 1. I am wondering when I will see signs of this year’s growth, it’s late March and nothing yet?. 2. The area they are in isn’t especially damp but I can keep them well watered. It is south facing, under a silver birch, so some light shade. How damp do they need to be to thrive?



Hello, These are late flowering, so tend to start growing later than the early-flowering perennials. Therefore, I would not really expect to see any signs of growth until May or June. As for the mositure levels, they like reliably moist but not waterlogged conditions.



Hello, I planted an Ageratina altissima a few months ago and it has taken really well – doubling in size over the Summer. However, it’s now falling over – the main stems don’t seem to be strong enough to support its own weight. Is this normal? Should I be supporting it with canes or has it grown too quickly? I have one on the other side of my garden which has grown much more slowly and is still upright. Thanks



Hello, These plants are happiest in partial shade, however if the shade is too dense, the plant will become ‘stretched’ as it reaches for more sun. This rapid, soft growth could be caused by too much fertiliser, so if it is at all possible you should address these issues.. If all else fails however, you could use some discretely placed bamboo canes to prop it up.


Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’

snakeroot Interesting Notes

Striking foliage contrasts beautifully with brilliant white flowers. Attracts butterflies. Excellent source of late-season color in informal or perennial gardens. Attractive with Japanese anemones and other fall-blooming plants. Tolerates dry shade. – Darwin Perennials

An animal may die from eating either a large amount of white snakeroot at one time or small amounts over a long period. The eating of small quantities more or less continuously gives rise to the animal disease known as trembles. It is also the cause of the well-known and much-feared milk sickness of man — a disease that is contracted from drinking milk or eating milk products from poisoned cows. Milk sickness claimed thousands of lives in the early 1800s, perhaps the most well-known victim being Abraham Lincoln’s mother. Nursing calves and lambs may die from their mothers’ milk contaminated with snakeroot even though the mother animals show no signs of poisoning. Cattle, horses, and sheep are the animals most often poisoned. – Veterinary Medicine Library

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