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Astilbes are a very valuable plant that brings a lot of texture and colour to shady areas of your garden where other plants don’t necessarily grow. They are very well known for the lace-like ferny green foliage as well as the plumes of feathery flowers that you get from the end of spring through the summer.
You can find a variety of sizes including smaller dwarf varieties that reach around 20cm in height for the front of your border or even container as well as tall varieties that can grow up to two meters for the back of your vertical design borders. They are the perfect plant for a woodland style garden and work well with other shade-tolerant plants like hostas.
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Plant astilbes in dappled or shady positions
These plants need dappled or shady positions in order to thrive. They can handle full shade but you won’t get the same level of colour in the flowers. However, they cannot tolerate full sun or any area that has poor drainage so always add plenty of organic material and grit to the soil if your garden suffers from poor drainage and water logging.
How to plant
Once you have found the right position in your garden, you can plant them fairly easily. While it is possible to propagate from seed, it’s difficult to get them to succeed so most people will buy established plants from Nursery or garden centres in 2 or 3 litre pots, you can also get them in 9cm pots if ordering online which can offer excellent value for money. You want to dig a generously-sized hole that’s bigger than the container in which your plant is already growing in and work in some compost or manure into the soil.
You should keep your newly planted astilbes very well water once you put them in your garden until they have established themselves. The same is true of any divisions that you transplant from an existing astilbe. Astilbes will quickly shrivel up if they do not get enough water and don’t always recover.
Once they are planted you can give them fertilizer every year, but if you’re growing them in containers you can give them fertilizer every two weeks during their growing season. Aside from that, you don’t have to deadhead them but you can cut the plants back after flowering every year and divide them every three or four years.
How to propagate
These are the type of plants that every few years need to be divided to keep them looking good. As a reliable perennial, they do best if they are divided every 3 or 4 years. This division will regenerate the mother plant and of course give you lots of new plants that you can put somewhere else in your garden or give to friends.
It is recommended that you propagate by division by simply uplifting the parent plant from the ground and dividing the rhizomes into sections that have 3-5 eyes on them, the eyes being the parts with roots coming out. You can do this in the spring right after flowering and then transplant them immediately or save them over winter and transplant them in spring if you divide them in autumn. Ideally, we recommend dividing your plant at the very beginning of Spring and transplant them immediately.
Astilbes are relatively trouble-free plants but they are prone to powdery mildew if they are grown in the wrong conditions. It’s best that you make sure you have optimum drainage whether you are growing them in containers or directly in the ground in order to alleviate this issue.
If you do get powdery mildew we recommend spraying plants with a fungicide at first signs and remove any affected leaves.
- Controls all major leaf diseases of roses and ornamental plants
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- Astilbe Deutschland is a shorter variety that flowers earlier in the springtime with shiny foliage and white flowers.
- Astilbe Rheinland is a compact variety that has light pink flowers with dark green and bronze leaves.
- Astilbe Heart and soul is another compact variety with light purple flowers that have a slight scent and bloom in the middle of summer.
- Astilbe Younique Carmine is a compact variety with dark green leaves and dark green flowers.
- Astilbe Federsee Is another compact variety with rosy pink flowers.
Last update on 2021-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API