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Astilbe

astilbe-flats.jpgAstilbes (ass-till-bee) False Goat's-Beard. Saxifrage Family (Saxifragaceae) are handsome plants for, and are all but indispensible, in the perennial border. They are "blenders" among summer perennials almost without equal.

Astilbes are regal plants with soft, feathery plumes of densely packed, tiny flowers that add lots of color in full or partial shade gardens. Astilbes are slowly spreading, rhizomatous plants that vary in height from six inches tall to six+ feet.

These carefree, mound shape perennials prefer consistently moist, slightly acid, organically rich soil. Soil moisture is critical, but they are not tolerant of waterlogged or heavy clay soils. Astilbes can perform in full sun; but we generally recommend afternoon shade to full shade in the South, and filtered sun in the North. Mulch is helpful in maintaining the constantly-moist ground. Fertilize by working-in compost or a little 5-10-5 (or 5-10-10, or 10-10-10) fertilizer in early spring for best results.

The most critical growing factor for Astilbe is water. Increase watering as the foliage emerges and plumes mature. Plants should never be allowed to dry out. If the never be allowed to dry out. If the margins of the leaves turn brown and crispy, the plants are not being kept moist enough. Avoid watering after midafternoon.

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Uses in the landscape include as a focal point or in mass in shade and woodland gardens, near water areas, in containers, for cut flowers (collect when the beautiful plumes are half open); seed heads will enrich scenery into winter.

Hardiness zones 4 to 8, although most cultivars survive zone 3 to 9.

Hundreds of hybrids have been created from approximately a dozen species. The arendsii (ar-end-see-eye) hybrids are the largest group of hybrids involving crosses between A. chinensis (chin-nen-sis)A. japonica (jap-pon-ik-uh), A. thunbergii and A. astilboides. Though arendsii hybrids can vary, usually they are early bloomers and grow 1.5 to 4 feet tall. Chinese astilbes, A. chinensis, bloom later than most arendsii hybrids and generally have better drought tolerance than most other astilbes, although they still do best with uniformly moist soils. Astilbe cultivars in the japonicahybrid group are generally medium-sized varieties (to 3 feet) which bloom in midseason. Astilbe cultivars in the simplicifolia hybrid group are generally compact, low-growing varieties which bloom in mid-season. Astilbe cultivars in the thunbergii group are generally tall varieties (to 4 feet) which bloom late with arching, loosely branched flower panicles.

Combine them with ferns, irises, hostas and other shade and moisture loving plants.

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PLANTING: Set out plants in spring or fall, 15 to 18 inches apart. Astilbes prefer partial to full 
shade, but may be grown in sun in northern areas if particular attention is paid to maintaining a constant supply of moisture, especially early in the growing season. (Failure to do this will produce poor, chlorotic, unattractive foliage.) A soil well-enriched with organic matter is essential.

MAINTENANCE: Astilbes are vulnerable to drought, and should be watered liberally; year-round mulch will help retain moisture and moderate soil temperature. Other than that, and dividing established plants every few years, preferably in the fall, they are relatively care-free. Their plumy inflorescences, even when dry, provide winter interest, so we suggest that they not be cut back until spring, prior to the onset of new growth. Zones various.

click on the astilbe photos below for additional information.
Bare root Astilbes are shipped in the spring and fall. 
Astilbe 1 to 3 eye divisions would typically fit into a 1-gallon container.
  • Astilbe 'Fanal' (bare root plant)

    Astilbe 'Fanal' (bare root plant)

    Astilbe x arendsii 'Fanal' Common Name: SpireaZones 4 to 9.Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 20 inches tall and 18 to 20 inches wide;Clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate. 'Fanal' quickly forms a compact graceful, fern-like mound...

    $3.86
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  • Astilbe 'Rheinland' (bare root plant)

    Astilbe 'Rheinland' (bare root plant)

    Astilbe 'Rheinland' Common Name: Astilbe-Japanese.Zones 4 to 9.Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 24 inches tall and 16 to 20 inches wide;Clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate, slow spreading, rhizomatous plants. Rose-pink flowers...

    $3.86
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  • Astilbe 'Delft Lace' PP19839

    Astilbe 'Delft Lace' PP19839 (25) BR Plants

    Astilbe 'Delft Lace' PP19839 Common Name: Astilbe-Hybrid, Spirea Zones 4 to 9. Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 24 to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide; Clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate, slow spreading, rhizomatous plants. Panicles of deep...

    $179.80
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  • Astilbe 'Rise and Shine'

    Astilbe 'Rise and Shine' (25) BR Plants

    Astilbe 'Rise and Shine' Common Name: Astilbe-Japanese. Zones 4 to 9. Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 27 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide; Clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate, slow spreading, rhizomatous plants. Large 8 inch long, hot...

    $165.00
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  • Astilbe 'Rheinland'

    Astilbe 'Rheinland' (25) BR Plants

    Astilbe 'Rheinland' Common Name: Astilbe-Japanese. Zones 4 to 9. Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 24 inches tall and 16 to 20 inches wide; Clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate, slow spreading, rhizomatous plants. Rose-pink flowers are held in...

    $165.00
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  • Astilbe 'Red Sentinel'

    Astilbe 'Red Sentinel' (25) BR Plants

    Astilbe 'Red Sentinel' Common Name: Astilbe-Japanese. Zones 4 to 9. Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 20 to 24 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide; Clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate, slow spreading, rhizomatous plants. Scarlet-red flowers...

    $165.00
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  • Astilbe japonica 'Peach Blossom'

    Astilbe 'Peach Blossom' (25) BR Plants

    Astilbe 'Peach Blossom' Common Name: Astilbe-Japanese. Zones 4 to 9. Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 24 inches tall and 15 to 18 inches wide; Clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate, slow spreading, rhizomatous plants. Peach flowers with a hint...

    $165.00
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  • Astilbe 'Montgomery'

    Astilbe 'Montgomery' (25) BR Plants

    Astilbe 'Montgomery' Common Name: Astilbe-Japanese. Zones 4 to 9. Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 20 to 24 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide; Clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate, slow spreading, rhizomatous plants. Dark magenta red,...

    $173.40
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  • Astilbe 'Fanal'

    Astilbe 'Fanal' (25) BR Plants

    Astilbe x arendsii 'Fanal' Common Name: Spirea Zones 4 to 9. Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 20 inches tall and 18 to 20 inches wide; Clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate. 'Fanal' quickly forms a compact graceful, fern-like mound of dainty...

    $165.00
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  • Astilbe 'Deutschland'

    Astilbe 'Deutschland' (25) BR Plants

    Astilbe 'Deutschland' Common Name: Astilbe-Japanese. Zones 4 to 9. Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 24 to 30 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide; Clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate, slow spreading, rhizomatous plants. Panicles of white,...

    $165.00
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  • Astilbe chinensis 'Visions'

    Astilbe chinensis 'Visions' (25) BR Plants

    Astilbe chinensis 'Visions' Common Name: Astilbe-Chinese Zones 4 to 9. Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 14 to 16 inches tall and 12 to 15 inches wide; Clump forming dwarf habit. Growth rate: Moderate, slow spreading, rhizomatous plants. 'Visions'...

    $165.00
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  • Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila'

    Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila' (25) BR Plants

    Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila' Common Name: Astilbe- Dwarf Chinese Zones 4 to 9. Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 10 inches tall and 12 to 16 inches wide; Dwarf clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate, slow spreading, rhizomatous plants. Lilac-pink...

    $161.38
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  • Astilbe 'Bressingham Beauty'

    Astilbe 'Bressingham Beauty' (25) BR Plants

    Astilbe 'Bressingham Beauty' Common Name: Spirea Zones 4 to 9. Full sun to full shade. Plants reach 36 inches tall and 24 to 30 inches wide; Clump forming habit. Growth rate: Moderate. 'Bressingham Beauty' quickly forms a graceful, fern-like mound of...

    $165.00
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  • Astilbe 'Amber Moon' PPAF

    Astilbe 'Amber Moon' PPAF (20)ct Flat

    Astilbe 'Amber Moon' PPAF (20)ct Flat False Spirea Height: 34-38 Inches, Spread: 22-28 InchesFlower Color: Pink shades, Foliage Color: Yellow shadesHardiness Zone: 4 - 9Part shade to Full shade Blooms Midsummer The foliage emerges bright chartreuse...

    $181.88
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