Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Astilbe Growing Tips

Astilbe is a  low maintenance tall and feathery flowering plant that will add color and texture to your shade garden. This shade perennial plant has eye appealing flowers that bloom June through July and in the fall the plumes will add interest to your yard and garden. If you enjoy ornamental grasses then plant the astilbe close to your outdoor living space so you can enjoy viewing this interesting plant.

Photographs of astilbe gardens.

Astilbe grown with hosta plants: shade garden
Astilbe and Hosta plants

 Planting and Growing Astilbe

Before you can grow the astilbe you need to decide on the area in your yard that will accommodate the plant.  It is best to choose a section that provides ample room otherwise you will be transplanting often to prevent overcrowding.  When fully grown the plant will be 6 to 40 inches in height and 18 to 30 inches wide.
Decide on the design on your astilbe garden; will you be growing this plant in masses or with other shade loving plants; fern, lily of the valley, ladies mantle or hostas? 

What colors will work well with your garden them.  The flowers come in a variety of colors; white, magenta pink, lavender and red. 
Clear the growing site by removing the grass, weeds and debris.  For massive plantings it is best to use your tiller to break up the soil.  Break up the clumps of the soil so that the soil is a fine texture.  Dig a hole in the soil that is the same depth as the nursery container. 

Gently remove the plant from the container by setting the container on its side and rolling it back and forth, tap gently on the side of the container to loosen the soil and allow you to remove the plant easily.

Loosen the roots if they are growing in ball.  Shake the soil away from the roots (gently) before planting.  Set the plant in the center of the hole with roots facing outward.  Back fill the hole with soil mixed with compost or manure.  Water well.  Apply pine needle or chipped wood mulch around the stem of the plant.  

If you are planting more than one then allow two feet in-between the plants.

Keep the soil moist to moderate but not dry. Set up a drip line or soaking hose and water deeply every few days during the summer months. It is better to water the plants one inch of water every week rather than water lightly daily.   Continue to water into the autumn especially if the season is dry.  Keeping the soil moist will prevent plant stress. 

After a hard frost prune back your plants and cover them with an organic mulch; pine needles, leaf mulch or wood chips.

View this video to learn more about pruning astilbe:



Astilbe is a perennial that is hardy to 25F – 32 C
Grows best in zone 4 to 8

Plant in spring after the threat of hard frost has past and in the autumn six weeks before the end of season frost.
Watch your plants for weak blooms as this is a sign that the garden is overcrowded.  Divide astilbe and transplant every four to five years.
Every spring apply a spring fertilizer as soon as the plant starts to grow.  If your spring is dry then water to keep the soil evenly moist, the astible will be healthy as long as the soil does not dry out.  


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