Astilbe: Texture for the Garden

Astilbe is a versatile choice for the garden as it thrives in partial to full shade and will continue to spread through underground rhizomes, giving the plant a fuller look in just a few years. If planted in partial shade and adequately watered, Astilbe will provide year-round interest with evergreen foliage and plumes of delicate feather-like flowers in shades of white, pink, red, and purple.

Astilbe for Interest in the Shade Garden

Astilbe is a great option to tuck in with Hosta and other shade-loving plants as a taller, pop of color. Her gentle flowers offer texture to the garden and will last for 4-6 weeks. This plant will bloom at different times of the season depending on the variety. This perennial is deer resistant and makes a good groundcover with her natural, spreading habit. There is no need to deadhead Astilbe as it won’t force a rebloom. Simply leave the flowers for visual interest for the fall and winter months. Plus the birds will love the seeds!

Planting and Care

Astilbe performs best when planted in spring. When planting, add a generous helping of compost to the planting area along with all-purpose fertilizer. Then place the crown of the plant about an inch below the surface and gently spread out the roots to encourage growth. Water till a large puddle forms and let it slowly soak in. Water well for the first week to help your plant send its roots deep and become well established. Astilbe tends to be thirsty and she will let you know she is struggling when her foliage begins to brown or curl. She likes consistently moist soil for the best flower production.

A dose of all-purpose fertilizer at planting should be enough to carry Astilbe through a season. If you have a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus, she will love it. In the fall, give this perennial another dose of fertilizer to help with bud production for the following spring.

To propagate Astilbe, wait till the plant is at least 3-4 years old. Then, in the fall, gently dig up the plant and divide with a sharp knife or spade, ensuring that each clump has roots and rhizomes with an eye. Replant immediately as you would a new plant.

Three favorites for us this season are: Visions, Visions in Red, and Visions in White.