Versatile And Attractive Astilbe Plants For Your Garden

Versatile And Attractive Astilbe Plants For Your Garden

For gardeners who crave color but don’t have much sun, astilbe plants are a terrific choice. In spring and summer, these easy-to-grow perennial plants send up feathery plumes of white, red, lavender or pink flowers in low-light areas. Astilbe plants grow in shade, but flowers are more productive in an area where gentle morning or dappled sun can reach them for about an hour or two. Astilbe flowers also need correct soil and moisture to flourish. Astilbe plants prefer rich, organic type soil. Organic material such as compost enriches the soil and adds drainage. If your shady areas have poor, lean or rocky soil,  work in some compost a few weeks before putting your plants in the ground. Amend the soil 8 to 12 inches deep so that the roots of astilbe flowers have plenty of room to develop. Place the astilbe plants into the soil, keeping the crown at the same level as the top of the soil. Water well when planting and keep the soil consistently moist.

While maintenance of the plant is minimal, care for astilbe includes regular, even watering throughout its active growth, especially if planted in areas with more sun. Drying out can lead to leaf scorch, drying leaf margins and can even be the death of the astilbe plant. The right astilbe growing conditions and fertilizer result in large feathery plumes. Proper care for astilbe plants and the right location can result in delicate, long-lasting blooms in the spring and summer garden. There is an astilbe for every shade garden and often one is not enough for the gardener that falls in love with growing and caring for these plants.

Garden With Hostas And Astilbe

Garden With Hostas And Astilbe

Growing Astilbe This perennial's bright flowers and foliage will add a burst of color to any shady spot in your garden. Pinterest Facebook Twitter Email Astilbe Image courtesy of Longfield Gardens These two astilbes, 'Heart and Soul' (right) and 'Boogie Woogie' (left) make excellent cut flowers. In the garden, they attract butterflies with their mid-summer blooms. By: Lynn Coulter Similar Topics: Foliage Plants Plants Perennials Shade Garden Styles and Types For gardeners who crave color but don’t have much sun, astilbes are a terrific choice. In spring and summer, these easy-to-grow perennials send up feathery plumes of white, red, lavender or pink flowers in low-light areas. But astilbes, which are also known as false spirea, meadowsweet and false goat’s beard, can take some sun, especially if you’re a gardener who lives in a cool, northern climate. Just be sure to keep your plants well watered, and be aware that full sun can scorch or burn the fern-like foliage. Otherwise, astilbes are undemanding and hardy in garden zones 3 to 8. You can find varieties that range from 6 inches to over 40 inches tall, so you can grow them in containers, beds or borders. Try them in a cutting garden, or plant them to attract butterflies. They’re long-lived and relatively pest-free, with attractive, airy foliage. It’s often hard to get astilbe seeds to germinate, so start with plants instead. Find a friend or neighbor who’s willing to share and divide existing plants in the spring or fall, or purchase from a reputable source. Give your plants humus-rich soil that drains easily. Keep them lightly moist, but don’t let water puddle around their roots. Dig a hole for your plants that’s about twice the diameter of their roots, and gently spread the roots over the soil when you place them in the hole. Bare root plants should be planted with their crowns an inch or two below soil level. If the crowns push up out of the ground as they grow, toss some soil over them. Feed your astilbes with a balanced fertilizer in the spring. If you wish, you can snip off the flower heads when they’re finished, even though deadheading astilbes—unlike most other flowers—doesn’t encourage more blooms. Astilbes flower for a relatively long period of time, but then stop for the season. If you like the look of dried flowers, it’s fine to leave spent astilbe blooms on the plants. The leaves often change colors in the fall, so you’ll have a different color palette to enjoy as the flowers age and the foliage turns. But if you like to neaten up your garden at the end of the growing season, go ahead and remove any yellow leaves after the first hard frost. New foliage will emerge when the temperatures rise again in spring. Most astilbes spread easily, so divide your plants every 3 to 5 years to prevent overcrowding and to keep them vigorous and healthy. Cover the root zone with a layer of bark chips or other mulch to help retain moisture in the soil and hold down any competing weeds. For companion plants, try growing astilbes, with their finely cut foliage, alongside plants with big, broad leaves, like shade-loving hostas or heucheras.

Backyard Garden With Colorful Astilbe Plants

Backyard Garden With Colorful Astilbe Plants

Astilbe produces an attractive mound of glossy, fernlike foliage topped with delicate plumes of colorful flowers.

Garden With Ornamental Grass And Astilbe Plants

Garden With Ornamental Grass And Astilbe Plants

Likely the focal point of your shady summer flower bed, astilbe flowers can be recognized by their tall, fluffy plumes that tower above frilly, fern-like foliage in the shade garden.

Purple Astilbe In The Garden

Purple Astilbe In The Garden

Astilbe flowers range in color, from whites to dark purples, though most are pastel. In addition, different varieties bloom at different times and are available in varying heights.

Garden With White Astilbe Plants

Garden With White Astilbe Plants

When considering astilbe (Astilbe spp.), many gardeners confine their use to moist, cool spots in shade.

Astilbe Pink Plants In The Garden

Astilbe Pink Plants In The Garden

These attractive flowers make great companions for other shade tolerant plants.

Flower Bed With Astilbe Plants

Flower Bed With Astilbe Plants

Most astilbes spread easily, so divide your plants every 3 to 5 years to prevent overcrowding and to keep them vigorous and healthy.

Outdoor Garden With Astilbe Plants

Outdoor Garden With Astilbe Plants

Astilbe lends a refined grace to perennial borders, and are considered essential to the shade garden.

Rock Garden With Boulders And Astilbe Plants

Rock Garden With Boulders And Astilbe Plants

When discussing astilbe drought tolerance, the quality is relative to the tolerances and needs of other astilbe.

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