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.
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 blushes of bronze. These finely textured mounds of foliage stay compact with no training needed. Come summer, they are topped with fantastic feathery spikes of tiny flowers in shades of pinks, reds, purples, and whites.
Astilbe Care Must-Knows
Astilbes are fairly easy-to-grow plants, with one main stipulation: 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 these moisture-loving plants happier.
When it comes to light, astilbes are fairly versatile. They are capable of taking anything from full sun to almost full shade, but this is largely 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.
Plant breeders have focused on improving various aspects of the astilbes, 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, size of flower spikes, and timeliness of blooms. Many breeders are also working on shrinking down all aspects of the plants. This creates tidy little mounds of foliage with shorter blooms that can be used at the front of garden beds.