arnica, real arnica, arnica montana

Have you rubbed on arnica and ever bruised yourself? You are certainly not alone, if you have. Arnica has been used for medicinal flowers and its healing roots for centuries. Even if you don’t need to use arnica for medicinal purposes, this hardy sunflower-relative will give you a carpet of bright yellow blossoms in the spring and summer. While it is not fussy, it will have any special requirements, so let’s dive in.

Varieties of Arnica

There are varieties out there which you can pick from. However, a few of the varieties are hard to discover. There are 28 types that grow in North America. This is one of the most frequent kinds of arnica. If you’ve used arnica products it’s normally the type in preparations.

A. montana is thought of as among the most potent varieties, so in case you would like to grow arnica medicinally, this is the type to pick. Sometimes called heartleaf arnica, A. cordifolia is common in much of western North America. It’s easily recognized because of a heart-shaped notch at the base of its leaves. You’ll often spot it growing in the understory of forests in masses.

A. chamissonis is often used if A. montana is inaccessible for medicinal purposes. It’s fantastic for cut flowers, too. This kind is better.

Broadleaf arnica, A. latifolia, has – as its name implies – broad leaves. It spreads more rapidly than some other varieties, making it perfect when you’ve got an area that you want to fill.

Also called foothill arnica, A. fulgens needs part shade and moderate quantities of water. It flowers in April with showy yellow flowers and grows up to 3 ft tall.

A. sororia is usually called twin arnica. It grows well around larger plants such as trees, so it is terrific for wooded areas. Part shade is preferred by it. It’s native to Western North America, even though it’s rare to see it in the wild.

Also called nodding arnica, A. Parryi has different flowers comprising disc florets. The blossoms Appear in June-September. The heads of this plant curve to face down, which is where it gets its name. This plant remains short, at below to 1 foot tall. In the wild, Arnica grows in temperate areas, woodlands, in woods, and in open pastures.


Right Location

Put plants in a spot with full sun or partial sun. Different varieties have different tastes. Arnica is a plant that is pliable, as you can tell by the fact that it grows so well in the wild. For the best results in your home, plant in loamy soil that’s loose and well-draining. Aim to get a pH of 6.5, though arnica is not fussy.

Planting Seeds

Plant arnica in early to late spring depending on how warm it gets on your zone. Plant arnica once the soil temperature is a constant 55°F or longer.

You could even start plants indoors to allow the arnica plant get established until all chance of frost has passed. Cover and tamp down. Keep seeds evenly moist in bright, indirect sunlight until the seeds appear 1-3 weeks afterwards.

While it isn’t mandatory, you can enhance germination by exposing arnica seeds to cool temps. Some varieties of arnica take a cooling period before germination. Place the seeds in peat and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 months. Remove and plant in good excellent seed raising mix and keep inside until they’ve germinated.

Different kinds of arnica have varied requirements for germination. Make certain that you know what arnica variety you are planting and what they want for the results. You can also divide present plants and re-plant the rhizomes. Dig up an existing plant and carefully shake off the excess dirt.

Arnica is hardy when it is established and can be divided in early spring. Cut the plant in half using pliers or scissors. Now you can plant both halves in prepared soil.

Containers are a fantastic alternative for arnica if you don’t have a big garden or you would like to stop it from spreading. It is also possible to control the environment by transferring the plant around to follow the sun.

Ensure that you get a well-draining container and moderate. Don’t enable the container to dry out or get waterlogged.


Space arnica plants about 6 inches apart. Try replanting. Once you’ve got it rising, there are some things you want to know to maintain arnica happy.

It’s a gardening practice to fertilize your garden before you plant. Arnica is different. Arnica’s attractiveness is you do not have to fertilize. It’s adept at growing without additional feeding.


Provide water to arnica once the top inch of the soil is dry. Don’t allow arnica to become dry as its not drought resistant. Don’t soak the soil either though. Arnica does not like soil.


As the arnica flowers die off, you need to deadhead the plant to keep the blooms coming. Cut back in the autumn when all flowering has ceased and the arnica looks like it is wilting slightly.

Arnica varieties will disperse, so when choosing companion plants know about that. These options work with arnica.

Common Problems and Solutions for Arnica

Arnica is normally a potent plant, but there are a few things which may be an issue, particularly in humid environments.

Snails love arnica and will often use it as a house in addition to food. You may use snail bait or some other organic methods you’ve got. I surrounded my arnica with needles to keep out the snails and it worked nicely.

These voracious little caterpillars will not do too much harm in tiny numbers and in a big plot of arnica. Damage will be caused by them in massive numbers.

If you want to use arnica for medicinal purposes, don’t use any chemicals in controlling pests.

Harvesting Arnica

Arnica has been used to treat swelling, swelling, blunt injuries, and skin lesions since the 1500s. With anti inflammatory, anticoagulant, and pain-relieving properties and is among the more popular natural topical bruising treatments on the market.

There is some evidence that it does help with osteoarthritis and with healing bruises while testing is ongoing. It’s thought to heal bruising by transferring congested blood, allowing new blood to flow in the region to facilitate healing.

Remember, though arnica is often known as a herb, it’s not for consumption. It’s used for health solutions. In large enough quantities, eating arnica could kill you.

It’s crucial that you identify arnica flowers if you plant along with different plants which may be taken internally like chamomile. Arnica flowers are harvested when they are open. Once they are chosen, they should be dried by you. This is done before extraction processes. If you are going to use arnica as medicinal balms and salves, it is ideal to do a class or learn from somebody who does it as the procedure can be rather complicated.

If you are using arnica for cut flowers, simply recognize the straightest stalks and cut them off. Some arnica varieties produce long-stemmed flowers, while others are more of a rug plant.


Although it’s dangerous for people to take arnica internally, rabbits will consume a huge quantity of arnica if given the opportunity.

My arnica patch is too large to cover, so we have more traditional techniques of controlling rabbits on our homestead. We take them, but you choose whatever method you’re comfortable with.

This might be an issue in high humidity and it is not something you need on arnica if you are using it for medicinal purposes.