Long lived marginal plants native to China and Japan.
Fully hardy and long lasting if growing conditions
are good. Provides magnificent plumes of spring flowers
that brighten up any corner, prefers dappled shade
and damp soil. Will thrive in a bog garden or as an
edging plant with water or any damp shady area.
Family: Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage
Botanical Name: Astilbe
Common Names: False goat's beard, False Spiraea
Foliage: Semi evergreen divided leaves, often tinged with bronze or purple.
Flowers: Tall dense spikes of plume-like flowers appear on stems above the foliage. Shades of white, pink, red or lilac.
Flowering Period: June to September.
Soil: Moisture-retentive and rich in humus.
Conditions: Full sun or semi-shade. Any aspect, exposed or sheltered.
Habit: Bushy. Vigorous clump forming.
Type: Rhizomatous herbaceous perennial.
Hardiness: Fully hardy in UK.
An excellent plant for the waterside and other damp
places but not actually growing in water.
Prefers a cool, moist position and can tolerate light shade.
Good margin plants for ponds, pools or streams. Also an ideal choice for bog gardens or damp woodland areas.
Keep soil moist at all times. Do not let them dry out or you will loose them. Most varieties don't require staking.
The spent seed heads can provide an attractive feature in winter. Cut the plants down to ground level in early spring. Apply a mulch of compost, leaf-mould or well rotted manure in the spring, to promote growth and conserve ground moisture.
Generally pest Free. Can be subject to powdery mildew.
Divide clumps every 2 or 3 years in early spring. Ensure each new piece retains two or three developing growth-buds.
There are many cultivars with attractive ferny foliage and plumes of flowers, ranging in colour from crimson red to various shades of pink, lilac and white.
One of the most popular garden varieties are the
Astilbe x arendsii hybrids, which
have ferny leaves and feathery plumes and come in a
wide range of rich colours:
The Astilbe chinensis var. davidii hybrids are some of the tallest varieties, growing up to 4ft (1.2m) tall:
A. taquetii superba tall lilac-purple spikes from July to August. Height up to 6ft (2m).
Astilbe 'Professor van der Wielen' tall plumes of long lasting creamy flowers. Attractive seed heads. Height: 4ft (1.2m).
Astilbe 'Bronce Elegans' finely divided, bronze-tinted leaves, with salmon-pink cream flowers. Height: 12in (30cm).
A. simplicifolia 'Sprite' with feathery, pale-pink plumes. Height 1ft (30cm).
A. crispa 'Lilliput pink plumes. Height 8in (20cm).
A. chinensis 'Pumila' dark mauve-pink flowers above reddish green, broadly cut leaves. Height 9-12in (22-30cm).
A. simplicifolia compacta attractive bronzed leaves. Height up to 8in (20cm).
A. glaberrima saxosa dark foliage with sprays of tiny pale pink flowers. Height 4in (10cm).