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A garden favorite for moist sites, astilbe can be thought of as a multi-interest perennial. Astible is a knockout plant, thanks to its ornamental, fern-like bronze-and-green foliage and its feathery plumed blossoms that look good both in season and dried for winter interest. Just make sure to keep astilbe moist, or its delicate foliage will scorch in the sun.
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Part Sun, Sun
From 1 to 8 feet
18 to 30 inches
Even if astilbes never bloomed, the healthy foliage of these plants adds wonderful texture and color to a garden. In spring, new foliage often emerges bright green with heavy blushes of bronze. These finely textured mounds of foliage maintain compact balls with no training needed. Come summer, these tight mounds are topped with fantastic spikes of feathery tridents in shades of pinks, reds, purples, and whites. These tall spikes of color command attention in a garden, but also work very well en masse with other plants. The flower spikes can even be left on the plants after blooming for added winter interest.
Astilbe Care Must-Knows
Astilbes are fairly easy to grow plants, with their main stipulation that they need adequate water. They like consistently moist soils, and they will suffer without it. Be sure to plant in soils that are well-drained and have lots of organic matter. Amending the soil with additional compost and peat moss can help the soil retain water and ultimately keep them happier.
When it comes to light, astilbes are fairly versatile. Many of these plants are capable of taking anything from full sun to almost full shade, but this is dependent on variety. In full sun, it is imperative that astilbes receive adequate water throughout the growing season. If the soil dries out, the leaves on your astilbes will begin to brown and curl, becoming unsightly.
New research done on astilbes has focused on improving various aspects of the plants, one of which is foliage color. Many varieties offer green foliage with bronze markings, especially when young, but now varieties are being bred to hold that color all year long. Some varieties even have deep chocolate/burgundy foliage. Another major improvement is in flower production, or increasing the overall quantity of blooms, density of flower scapes, and timeliness of blooms. Many breeders are also working on shrinking down all aspects of the plants. This creates tidy little balls of foliage with shorter blooms that can be used at the front of garden beds.