Astilbe Colors – The Stars of a Shade Garden

Astilbe is one of my favorite perennials for a shade garden.  There are not many plants that really like the shade that also flower beautifully, but Astilbe is one of them. Astilbe colors could even be called the stars of a shady garden.Astilbe colors run the gamut from pure white to deep red with dozens of shades of pink, peach and purple in between. The plant does best in a semi shady garden and will be the star all summer long.

Astilbe makes a wonderful border edging plant for a large garden bed. There is nothing quite like the look of their dark green glossy leaves with the huge sprays of flowers sitting above them. It can also be planted in clusters to make a focal center point of the garden bed.

It is easy to see why Astilbe has the common name False Goat’s Beard.  The shape and color of the white flower spray really does resemble a beard! Some species are also known as False Spirea. There is nothing false about the colors though. They are amazing!This white astilbe flower gives rise to the common name False Goat's beard

Astilbe is native to the woodlands and ravines of Asia but is right at home here in North America. The flower clusters vary in size from 6″  to about 2 feet and the total height of the plant can be anywhere from 6 inches to 5 feet tall!

The flowers of astilbe may be frilly, but the leaves are glassy, serrated and green.  Most of the time, the flowers sit well above the leaves to make a really impressive show.

Astilbe leaves

If you have shopped for Astilbe, you may have noticed the word arendsii after the hybrid name. This is because the majority of the hybrids of the plant now available were introduced by Georg Arends, a German who spent decades hybridizing astilbes.  In 1933, Arends introduced 74 different astilbe cultivars and that is just in one year!  It took a while for Astilbe to catch on here in the USA, but it’s is a favorite now. The images in this article about the care of astilbe has been shared over 124,000 times on Pinterest! This shows just how popular the plant is here.

These Astilbe colors may be the main reason why it has taken off. Can you believe it is a shade plant?

Astilbe comes in lots of color variations from white to pink, peach, red and purple.  Each color seems to have an huge variety of shade, as well.  Not only do the shades merge one into the other, but the size of the bloom also makes the color either muted or vibrant. The perennial is right at home with other shade loving plants such as these astilbe companion plants.

Here are some photos of the popular Astilbe colors.

Red astilbe

This deep red astilbe shows a good example of the flower petals before they fully open up.  It is a shame it doesn’t grow at Christmas time!

Pale peach colored flowers of astible

This pale peach variety was only one year old when I took this photo. The plant was about 4 feet tall at the time and the blossoms were about a foot long.

Bright pink astilbe

Soft and frilly bright pink astilbe plants sitting in front of a big window. Imagine looking outside and seeing this lovely display?Red and white astilbe

This bright red astilbe is right at home near the white leaves of the dusty miller.  What a perfect combination!

Purple False goat's beard astilbe

This bright purple astilbe shows very clearly why it is also known as a False Goat’s beard.

Small white astilbe

Even when the plants are immature, like these white astilbe plants are, the show of flowers is still beautiful. Imagine these in a few years?

Pale pink astilbe

Pretty in pale pink!  This is one of the prettiest astilbe colors that I have seen. It is so delicate!

Pink peach astilbe

I can’t decide whether these astilbe colors are pink, or peach, or both!

Deep red astilbe

Deep, deep red, frilly and stunning.  Another Christmas color!

Astilbe in a garden bed

When one color just won’t do!   This garden bed is full of complimentary colors.  So pretty!

Of all the astilbe colors which is your favorite?  Do you have an example of an astilbe color that I haven’t shown?  Please share a photo of it in the comments below.

For more information on Perennial plants, be sure to visit my Perennials Pinterest Board.


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  12 comments for “Astilbe Colors – The Stars of a Shade Garden

  1. 03/10/2017 at 9:14 am

    The Astilbe colors are all lovely.I didn’t know it comes in many colors.Amazing!
    I love all the colors, I can’t decide.:)
    Thanks for this post.

    • Carol
      03/10/2017 at 9:57 am

      I like them all too but I think my favorite ones are the pink colors. Carol

  2. Patty Smith
    04/02/2017 at 9:25 pm

    I have a question. When Astrilb first starts to grow after winter, does it start all over or do not expect new foliage to grow off stalks from previous year?

    • Carol
      04/02/2017 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Patty, I usually cut the dead stalk of all my perennials in the early spring. They seem to do best if they don’t have to worry about the older stems. Just don’t cut them too close to the soil. Carol

  3. Caryle Sims
    04/09/2017 at 8:53 pm

    I loved reading about your beautiful astilbe plants. We have lots of camellias and azaleas in our shady yard, but I think we should try adding some astilbe plants this year. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Carol
      04/09/2017 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks Caryle. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Astilbe really are the stars of a shady garden! Carol

  4. Linda
    05/01/2018 at 1:29 pm

    This is my first year with astilbe should I fertilize I usually use miracle grow on my other perennials

    • Carol
      05/02/2018 at 9:43 am

      Hi Linda. Flowering plants need phosphorus to bloom well, so choose a fertilizer for astilbe plants with a middle number that’s at least as high as the other two numbers, like 5-10-5 or 10-10-10. As long as your Miracle Grow follows that format, it will work on astilbe. Carol

  5. 07/14/2019 at 7:50 pm

    I was given a bunch of pink astilbe which were lovely. My plants are all still doing well but most of them have turned to a lovely white. They are blooming heavily and look great but are no longer pink. I find this very interesting. The ones that are still pink are in the shadiest location.

    • Carol
      07/14/2019 at 9:25 pm

      I have found with my astilbe that the best colors are the plants that get a more shady spot.

  6. tracie rives
    11/04/2019 at 12:27 am

    I am planting Astilbe’s for the 1st time this fall. I am trying to stage my garden bed, but I’m not sure if the leaves stay all year long or not. Should I plan on them always being there or can I plant other later blooming bulbs close to them?

    • Carol Speake
      11/09/2019 at 11:14 am

      It depends on your planting zone, but for me in North Carolina, the leaves go brown when frost hits and I cut them back to the crown.

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