Common Name: false goat's beard, false spirea
Astilbe are shade plants that produce tall dense plumes over lacey green foliage. They go well in filtered shade, planted in groups. The flower plumes grow in every shade of pink, purple, peach, red and white, they are airy and open or tightly packed and stocky. The plants are divided into groups that more accurately describe the traits of each cultivar. Simplicifolia group plants have lobed, glossy foliage, with airy plumes followed by seed heads, slower growing. Arendsii group plants are the largest group and are crosses of A. chinensis var. davidii with A. astilboides and members of the Japonica and Thunbergii groups. These were developed by German nurseryman George Arends.
Astilbe chinensis is a later blooming species, the foliage is deeply cut, coarse looking and bronze green in color, some of these are excellent ground covers. The Japonica group is early blooming, with glossy leaves tinged with red and dense flower clusters. Thunbergii group is late blooming with open nodding flower plumes on tall stems.
Astilbe require consistently moist soil, rich in organic matter, light shade or filtered sun. They can grow in full shade but will not bloom as well.
Be sure to look out for the Astilbe ColorFlash series, newer introductions with colorful foliage.The leaves of ColorFlash astilbe begin as an electric green, then mature to a rich burgundy and purple. In the Fall, the colors change to vibrant gold, orange and russet tones. Ideal for shaded perennial gardens and borders with its flash of burgundy-red leaves. Like most astilbes, ColorFlash Lime performs best in areas of afternoon shade.
Popular Astilbe varieties include, but are not limited to:
Astilbe ‘Bridal Veil’
This white flowering astilbe has lacey flowers that droop a little at the tips and deep green glossy foliage. Arendsii group 28”height Good for cut flowers.
Astilbe Short and Sweet ‘Fireberry’
More than just a pretty finish for a garden, these flaming pink, diamond-shaped plumes perk up container plantings, and their low, ferny foliage provides a decorative backdrop. 'Fireberry' is one of the Short ‘n Sweet™ dwarf Astilbes that reach about 16 inches high and bloom in early to midsummer.
Astilbe Short and Sweet ‘Sugarberry’
A profusion of soft pink plumes in early to mid summer hover over the dainty, deep green, divided foliage of 'Sugarberry' that will form a compact clump.
Raspberry red plumes that are fragrant, coarse textured large deep green leaves on a pyramidal shaped plant. 14-16” height. Chinensis group.
This is one of the earliest of the reds to bloom, and it’s foliage is mahogany red in spring. 20”height. Arendsii group.
Astilbe ‘Bressingham Beauty’
This Astilbe has salmon pink tall arching plumes with medium green leaves. 36”height Arendsii group.
Astilbe ColorFlash™ Lime
Hardiness: Grows best in a crumbly, well-drained soil, slightly acid, with good organic matter content
Spread: 15" to 24"
Flower: Pale pink flowers in late spring and early summer.
Exposure: Performs best in areas of afternoon shade. Ideal for shaded perennial gardens