Information About Astilbe Plants
By Glory Lennon
Astilbe is a very hardy, shade loving perennial plant which also goes by the name False Spiraea and Meadow Sweet. Astilbe is a carefree, pest resistant plant preferring moist, well draining, humus rich soil like that found in the forest and in woodland settings. Leaf mold does wonders for this plant. Astilbe will flourish in the dappled shade under trees but in cool summer places they do fine in full sun if provided with enough water. Though hardy in zones 3-9 providing a thick mulch will ensure their survival through harsh winters where constant snow cover isn’t reliable and as an added bonus keeps their roots from drying out.
Its lovely, lacy leaves are finely cut, dark green and very attractive in any woodland garden setting. The feather-like flower clusters atop wiry stems give an airy, light quality to the shady perennial border. The flowers of Astilbe blooming from late spring through to summer come in pink, red, white, lavender and peach. They range in height from one and a half to four feet tall and partner quite well in shady gardens with Bleeding Heart, Hosta, Helleborus, Meadow Rue, Bergenia and Columbine. Within the sunnier flower border they look nice alongside Peony, Iris, Daylily and Scabiosa. Astilbe also looks wonderful in dried flower arrangements.
The most commonly available is the hybrid Astilbe Arendsii. One of the latest and arguably the most sought after cultivar of which is the lavender colored “Amethyst”. “Amethyst” is a late summer bloomer growing three to four feet high and has a very pretty lavender plume.
“Deutschland” is another readily available variety. This one blooms early in the season. The bright white blossoms stand one and a half feet tall and light up the shade garden nicely. For a mid-late blooming plant, “Bridal Veil” grows three feet high with full white plumes.
“Peach blossom” is two feet tall with darling, light salmon pink flower clusters. This one blooms mid-season.
For an early blooming bright red flower and bronze colored leaves choose Astilbe “Fanal”. This one growing one and a half to two and a half feet high and would look lovely planted amongst Virginia Blue Bells, Fernleaf Bleeding Hearts and “Chocolate” Ajuga. “Red Sentinel” is another red bloomer standing two feet tall and forming mounding foliage 18 inches across.
“Ostrich Plume”, standing three and a half feet tall, has drooping pink blooms making their appearance in the mid to late season. “ Rheinland” is a deep pink, early blooming plant with abundant pink flower clusters standing two to two and a half feet tall.
Astilbe Simplicifolia as the name implies has a more simple leaf form. This plant has leaves less finely cut and not as divided as A. Arendsii. The more common garden cultivar is “Sprite” with bronze tinged foliage and it grows rather low and compact, only 16 inches high. The many drooping flowering spires are a foot high long.
For a bit more drought tolerating plant look for Astilbe Chinensis which looks very much like Astilbe Arendsii but grows a tad taller and mostly blooms in late summer.
When planting a woodland garden Astilbe should be at the top of the list of must-have plants. Getting some that bloom at different times throughout the season will ensure your forest landscape will shine with these jewels of the shade.
Author Glory Lennon Resource:
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Article Source: Astilbe
Article From: Organic Gardening Articles