Family: Saxifragaceae

Common Name: Astilbe

DescriptionA group of plants if grown in an area to their liking will produce colorful plumes of flowers. The main factors to get maximum performance are: proper soil moisture, division and fertilizing
Plant TypePerennials Hardy
SunlightPrefer semi-shaded sites will tolerate more light if the soil is kept moist. I have a group of Astilbe in a 1/2 to 3/4 day sunspot for over 10 years and they are a showstopper when blooming. To achieve this they are growing in a bed that is raised a few inches and the soil is naturally constantly wet.
MoistureNeeds moist soil. Plants growing in dry conditions will be small, few blooms and tend to dry up during the hotter days in the summer.
Soil & SiteRich, humusy moist well-drained soils.
FlowersAll the Astillbe produce plume-like inflorescences (panicles) with colors ranging from red, pinks, whites, salmon, etc. The size can range from a few inches to a few feet. Flowers can be erect, slightly arching or arching.
LeavesLeaves are ternately compound and the leaflets are coarsely serrated. Some leaves have a bronze-green tinge. Some plants form ground covers will others are a typical clumping plant. The dissected foliage is an attractive feature of the plant.
DimensionsDepending on the variety size ranges from 6" to 3 feet.
MaintenanceDivision of the clumps every 2-3 years will help to maintain the vigor of the plant. Astillbe are heavy feeders and need to be fertilized every year in the spring and also in the early fall.
PropagationMost cultivars will not come true from seed. They are easily increase by division in the spring.
Native SiteNative to China, Japan and Korea.
Cultivar OriginGeorge Arends of Germany was one of the first to create new varieties of Astillbe which lead to the plants popularity
Misc FactsThe main factors to get maximum performance are: proper soil moisture, division and fertilizing
Author's NotesI have taught many classes on perennials. In one class I was talking about how to grow Astilbe and one of the students said, they never watered the plants and were growing in a lot of sun. I asked her about the growing conditions and she said they were next to their patio growing in good sun. On further interrogation, it turns out it was next to the area her kids washed off their feet when playing in the sand area around the swing set. Good light and adequate moisture!!
Notes & Reference#40-Herbaceous Ornamental Plants (Steven Stills), #54-The Well Tended Garden (DiSabato-Aust)
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