Astilbe: Showy Flowers Atop Glossy, Fern Like Foliage

Astilbe: Showy Flowers Atop Glossy, Fern Like Foliage


Photo Compliments of mwms1916

 Astilbe is a perennial with beautiful, showy flowers atop glossy, fern like foliage. Bloom time starts in early to late summer depending on the variety.  It will spread over time in the right growing conditions.  Most commercially available types are complex hybrids. Its flower clusters vary in size from 6 inches to 2 feet and its height varies from 6 inches to 5 feet, depending on the type.  Astilbe may look delicate but they are tough, robust plants. They are easy to grow and will live a long time in your garden.

How To Make Your Astilbe Thrive

Astilbe can tolerate full sun provided it has a constant supply of moisture; in drier sites the leaves will scorch in full sun. Preferred soils provide average to slightly below average moisture. Make sure soil drains well and does not puddle or get water-logged in rain.  You should amend soil with peat moss, perlite, and course sand to improve the drainage.  

Plant the divisions in the spring or fall about 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the type.  If you are planting bare root plants, make sure the holes are twice as wide as the plants and 4 to 6 inches deep. Place the plants so that the roots are fanned slightly and pointing downwards, with the crown planted 1 to 2 inches below the ground level. Cover the roots with soil and press firmly.

Crowns often rise above the soil as they grow, so make sure to cover them with humus-rich soil or lift and replant the clumps.  Be sure to divide the overgrown clumps every 3 to 4 years in the spring. You can either replant the divisions immediately or put them in pots to be planted out in the early summer when they are re-established.

After blooming has finished for the season, feel free to clip off any spent flower stems. Your astilbes will continue to provide attractive foliage until fall.     After the first frost, the leaves may yellow; trim leaves if you wish and fresh growth will come next spring.

General Astilbe Information

Diseases An Pests

Plant is generally very robust; watch for tarnished plant bug, powdery mildew, bacterial leaf spots.


Be sure to divide the overgrown clumps every 3 to 4 years in the spring. You can either replant the divisions immediately or put them in pots to be planted out in the early summer when they are re-established.

Garden Uses

Plant in containers, beds borders (both in the front or in the back), and as a ground cover.


A. arendsii ‘Bridal Veil’ – Mid to late season bloomer with full white plumes (3′)

A. arendsii ‘Fanal’ – blooms early with blood red flowers on bronze foliage (1′ – 2′)

A. arendsii ‘Rheinland’ – Another early bloomer in a rich pink, very hardy (2- 3′)

A. chinensis taquetii ‘Purple Candles’ – Deep purple, chenille-like plumes ( 3′- 4′)

Quick Facts

  • Botanical Name: Astilbe
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Bloom Time: Spring to summer
  • Flower Color: Red, pink, white, lavender
  • Light: Partial sun to shade; more sun requires more moisture.
  • Hardiness Zones:  Zones 3 to 9
  • Plant Height: Grows from 6-48 inches tall
  • Plant Width: Grows from 18-30 inches wide
  • Soil Type: Loamy
  • Pests: Tarnished plant bug, powdery mildew, bacterial leaf spots
  • Uses: Containers, beds borders (can be used both in the front and the back), and as a ground cover
  • Special Features:  Attractive garden foliage, mildly fragrant, great cut flowers, attracts butterflies, deer resistant.

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  1. They really are a versatile plant. The video was entertaining.
    Donna recently posted..A Garden to Make You Say WowMy Profile

  2. Wonderful source of information here, Charlie. Thank you!
    Our astilbe did beautifully this year.
    For some reason last year, not good at all.
    Wishing you a wonderful day!

    • I had that same experience. Last year was not so good and then this year was the best in the last five years. I do love using it to create contrast and it is a great plant for those who do not have time to garden and watch over their gardens.

  3. I love my astilbes. Even when they are not blooming, their foliage is quite pretty and interesting.

    I am building a new bed under some trees on my back hillside, lasagna style, and I have plans to move a couple astilbes that have become overcrowded elsewhere up there. They’ll get sun for most of the morning, and shade during the hottest part of the day. Hopefully the lasagna bed will help keep them moist enough–the tree leaves act as a bit of an umbrella up there, and the roots tend to hog the moisture that does get through.

  4. These were the very first thing that I planted when I bought my house – right along the garage where they thrive because of the shade and yet are protected from too much rain…and I forgot the name of them til seeing this!!! Thanks 🙂

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