How to grow and care for Astilbe plants, also known as False Spires.
Astilbe provides a great deal of shade as they grow with extremely dense foliage. They bloom in summer with feathery flowers that range in color from red and pink to white, peach and purple. The leaves are fern-like and dark green. Some varieties have bronze color leaves.
Depending on climate, you will likely find the most flowers during the months of June and July. Astilbe can grow up to five feet in height, looks best when growing in groups, can be used on the edges and borders of flower beds, and looks extremely attractive growing in containers.
The foliage mounds to two feet and the flowers rise above the plant to a height of between twelve and eighteen inches and spread out between two and three feet wide.
These flowers for shade are heavy feeders. You will need to supplement with a fertilizer for acid loving plants in the Spring.
Astilbe Plants Propagation
The plants tend to propagate through the division of roots. As is common in this type of propagation procedure, it should be carried out in early spring or fall. They are easy to propagate. After one season dig the plant up and divide into sections with at least one eye per section. However, be cautioned that you must not do this less than three or four years apart.
It is also possible to grow from Astilbe seed. If you choose to propagate by seed, the best time for propagation is in the early spring, indoors, with later transplanting to the location of your choice. You can transplant them out when the weather has warmed the soil enough to ensure survival of the young plants.
Because they deplete the soil of nutrients, it’s important to enhance the soil with compost, peat moss, shredded leaves, and a balanced fertilizer. Keep Astilbe moist but don’t let them get too wet or waterlogged, particularly during Winter months.
How to Grow Astilbe Plants
Astilbe are easy to culture and take care of, though they grow best in partial or full shade.
The plants need an extremely rich soil with a high humus or peat content.
It is essential that the soil be soft, moist and well drained.
Do not underestimate the need for a rich soil. Not only must the soil be rich to start with, but you must add nitrogen rich fertilizers regularly.
If you can maintain moist soil, rich in humus, and slightly acidic, it will ensure that your flowers are not only numerous and beautiful, but that they also last longer.
Towards fall you will find that colors of the blooms fade into a beautiful rust color.
Mulch regularly to stop growth and propagation of weeds resulting in competition for nutrients; mulching will also help in retaining moisture in the soil and aid the growth of this plant.
Besides fertilizers you can also reinforce nutrients in the soil with compost and shredded leaves. This rich decaying matter is exactly what Astible plants need and like.
Tips on Astilbe Plants
There are a few tips you can use to make your garden look better. One of these is to plant different species that happen to have very different bloom times. By doing this you ensure that your shade garden gets colorful flowers all through the season.
Some species, such as the purple Amethyst, white Bridal Veil and the deep red Fanal for example, tend to bloom early. If you plant a few species that bloom in the middle of the season, like the lilac Cattlea and the pink colored Bressingham Beauty, you will achieve a longer blooming period for that part of the garden.
Chinensis and Glut, on the other hand, have pink and red flowers and bloom very late in the season. Astilbe Gloria is a popular choice for gardeners as well.
By choosing to plant different species you can ensure that your garden not only looks beautiful, but that the flowers change their color from time to time all through the flowering season.
Astilbe must be planted from one to two feet apart and planting in groups makes them even more attractive.
These plants are hardy and survive cold winters well. Note however, that it is a good idea to put down a layer of mulch in places where temperatures drop steeply.