One of the darkest-flowered Astrantias, Astrantia major 'Claret' (Masterwort) features dramatic clusters of tiny, deep ruby-red flowers crowded together in a dome-shaped flowerhead, just like pins on a cushion. They are surrounded by an elegant ruff of long papery bracts. The distinctive blooms are borne on nearly black stems, well above the rosette of lush, deeply cut, mid-green leaves that are adorned with burgundy around the edges when young.
- Blooms for weeks from late spring to early summer, and sporadically throughout the summer where conditions are to its liking.
- Spreading slowly from the rootstock, this Astrantia enjoys a neat habit and grows in a clump of deeply divided leaves, up to 36 in. tall (90 cm) and 12 in. wide (30 cm).
- Thrives in full sun or part shade in rich, medium to wet, well-drained soils. Soils need to be kept consistently moist. Best performance occurs in cool summer climates as Astrantias do not like very hot, humid or dry conditions.
- Vital ingredient of herbaceous borders, cottage gardens, woodlands. Great weavers, Astrantias mix well with other plants and associate beautifully with Ornamental Grasses, Sedums and many other perennials. Plant them in drifts or at the border front of mixed borders where their attractive blooms can be appreciated. This plant is also valued for the excellent quality of its cut flowers, whether in bouquets or dried floral arrangements.
- Easy to grow, deer-resistant, disease and pest free, wet soil tolerant, Astrantia is a perennial plant that is rich in many qualities aside from its good looks!
- Easily grown from seeds sown fresh. Deadheading will prolong flowering and prevent self-seeding. Astrantias do spread a little but can easily be held back. Dividing clumps help maintaining vigor.
- Propagate by division in spring
Astrantias belong to the Apiaceae family and have been valued for centuries for their long blooming season, their delicate presence and intriguing flowers. Native to the woods and meadows of Asia and Europe, they grow easily in most gardens. Favored by gardeners and widely used in flower arrangements by florists, the genus includes 8 or 9 species, Astrantia major being the most popular with greenish pink to purple-red flowers surrounded by white to pinkish-white bracts and reaching 12-36 in. (30-90 cm).