Valued for light, airy quality of plumelike flower clusters and attractive foliage and for ability to provide color from late spring through summer. Leaves are typically divided, with toothed or cut leaflets, though in some species they are simply lobed, with cut margins. Small white, pink, or red flowers are carried in graceful, branching, feathery plumes held on slender, wiry stems ranging from 6 in. to 3 ft. or taller. Most plants grow 2–3 ft.wide.
Astilbes are the mainstay of the shady perennial border, although in cool-summer climates they can withstand full sun if watered adequately. Effective at the edge of pools, along shady paths, in containers. Need moist (but not boggy), rich soil with ample humus. Cut off faded flowering stems and divide clumps every 4 or 5 years. Survival in coldest areas (Zones 1a, 1b, 2a) depends on good snow cover.
Blooms in late summer, grows taller than A. X arendsii, and tolerates dryness a little better. Varieties include a range of sizes and flower colors.Astilbe simplicifolia
Grows to 16 in. high. Leaves are merely cut or lobed, not divided into leaflets. Known for its colorful varieties.
Most astilbes sold belong to this hybrid group or are sold as such. Parentage is complex, but plants often have A. japonica, A. chinensis, and/or A. thunbergii in their ancestry. The plants differ chiefly in technical details. All can take full sun only in cooler climates. Short-lived in Zones 8, 9, 18–24.
Blooms in late summer, grows taller than A. X arendsii, and tolerates dryness a litt...
Upright grower to 15 in. tall, with raspberry pink plumes above bronzy green leaves. Blooms a little e...
Low mats of leaves topped by lilac pink flower clusters that rise 12–15 in. high.