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Zones A2, A3, 1-9, 14-24, 32-45
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Astilbe chinensis pumila

False Spirea
Perennials, Flowers


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.


Astilbe chinensis pumila (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Astilbe chinensis pumila (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Astilbe chinensis pumila

Low mats of leaves are topped by lilac-pink flower clusters that rise to 12–15 in. high.

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