Immensely popular, Astilbes are fabulous plants for shady, moist conditions. They light up your shade garden for weeks with their elegant flower plumes and add a dazzling splash of color in the landscape. Ranging from 6 in (15 cm) to 24 in. tall (60 cm), their feathery plumes, in shades of lavender, pink, red or white, can be incredibly striking. They rise gracefully above attractive mounds of fern-like foliage which remains attractive all season long (under satisfactory growing conditions) before turning progressively a rich caramel color which provides winter interest to the garden.
- Relatively trouble-free, Astilbes require little maintenance, are heavy shade tolerant, attract butterflies, but are deer and rabbit resistant! The perfect perennial for a shady border with dappled light!
- These part shade to full shade lovers thrive in organically rich, evenly moist, well drained soils. Easy to grow, their biggest enemy is dryness - so don't let the soil dry out!
- Native to China, Japan and Korea, there are about 25 species of Astilbe and hundreds of cultivars, some less than 12 in. tall (30 cm) and ideal for the front of the border or rockeries while others can easily reach 4 ft. in height (120 cm) and are better suited for the back of the border. This diversity in height makes Astilbes quite versatile, and they overachieve in providing a spectacular flower show, whether planted in perennial borders, woodlands, by streams, ponds or in containers. Plant them in groups for better visual effect. Their flower plumes also make excellent fresh cut flowers and can be dried in natural bouquets.
- Astilbes bloom between late spring and late summer. They flower over a fairly long season since each flower plume consists of hundreds of densely packed tiny flowers, opening in succession. However, they do not all flower at the same time and are classified with a blooming time, ranging from Early to Late season. Therefore, to fill your garden with continuously blooming Astilbes throughout the season, you may plan to plant a variety of cultivars, from Early- to Late season bloomers.
To help you plan your late spring or summer garden and facilitate your selection of Astilbe varieties, here is a list of mid season Astilbe cultivars.