My mother has a lovely garden set up. She is retired and has time to spend in the garden making them really beautiful.
Most of her beds are in full sun but she has a long raised planter along one side of her house that is in part shade most of the day. For this spot she has chosen to grow astilbe. And grow well, they do!
I visited her a few years ago and she gave me some shoots to bring back to North Carolina for my garden (she lives in Maine.) They survived the trip back and are growing well and increasing in size each year.
Astilbe is easy to grow, and is very tough and hardy. One of the beauties of them is that they do equally well in part sun or partial shade and will flower in either location. They prefer shade to look best. They are companions of ferns, and I have them growing in a shady part of my garden flanked by lovely large ferns and hostas.
The prettiest thing about astilbe is their canopy of tall flower stalks about a fern like leaf structure.
Growing astible is easy if you follow these tips:
- Light: Astilbe does well in both half sun/half shade or in full shade
- Flowers: The most commonly grown astilbe have flowers that are in the red/pink variety with colors ranging from dusty pink through to vibrant pinks and reds. Some varieties of astilbe are also pale tan or even white.
- Size: Most will grow to about 36″ tall with the flower stalk and about 2 feet wide. But there are also varieties that will grow to 5 feet so be sure to choose one suited to the space you have.
- Bloom time: Mid to late summer
- Propagation: Root divisions. They take quite easily as is evidenced by mine in their two day car ride in the middle of summer. Advisable to plant in the spring or fall. Divide every two to three years.
- Watering: Astible likes moist soil so hotter climates will need to have them in shade and you’ll need to add extra water. They grow best in Northern areas where it is cool and wet.
- Fertilizer requirements: Best to use slow release fertilizer twice a year.
- Soil requirements: They are not too particular. Astilbe will grow in soils that are loamy, soils with heavy clay content or even moist and wet soil.
- Hardiness: Zones 3-8. They don’t do as well in extreme cold or heat zones.
- Other facts: Great for cut flowers and deer resistant.
- Uses: Astilbe make great choices for garden beds under a canopy of trees.
and they are spectacular looking planted as a border edge if you have a bed that gets plenty of shade during the day.
Most of the astilbe plants that I have seen around here in Raleigh, have very feathery flowers but some of the varieties can be quite showy such as this “country and western” astilbe with almost chenille like flowers shows.
Astilbe is normally planted directly in the soil, but is equally at home in planters. Be sure to give the roots plenty of room and extra watering will be necessary if you grow them this way.
Have you grown astilbe? What zone are you in?
For more tips on growing Astilbe and a look at the color varieties, see my Astilbe Gallery here.