Long-lasting and low-maintenance, astilbe is one of America’s most beloved perennials. Astilbes have deep green foliage reminiscent of a tropical rainforest, with plume (feather-shaped) flowers in a wide variety of colors including pink, red, violet and white. The texture of their flowers adds a unique dimension to any home garden, and the flowers are also ideal for placing in a vase, where they can thrive for up to a week.
The most important thing to know when growing astilbes is that they need partial or full shade. If you plant them in the sun, they will burn. Water astilbes moderately each week, perhaps skipping weeks that bring notable rainfall. Since astilbes prefer moist soil, it’s a good idea to add a surrounding layer of mulch. Mix and match varieties of early-, mid- and late-season bloomers for a spectacular show lasting all summer.
Did You Know?
Most hybrids of astilbes are the product of German botanist George Arends, who planted 74 different astilbe cultivars in 1933 alone. Arends often receives a nod with “arendsii” tacked on to the names of his creations.
Other Fun Facts About Astilbe
- Astilbes range in size from just 1 foot to as tall as 4 feet with their flower spikes, making them one of the more versatile perennials you will find.
- Astilbe leaves are naturally rabbit and deer resistant.
- Meanwhile, astilbe flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
- Astilbes are usually hardy enough to withstand even the coldest New Jersey winters, with no winterization required.