A Feathery Feature
Common Name: false spirea, false goat's beard
Botanical Name: Astilbe cultivars and hybrids
Origin: Asia & North America
Type: An easy to grow, hardy non-evergreen (die down in fall), herbaceous (non woody) perennial.
Size: Height varies depending on the cultivar, species or hybrid. Some are under a foot while others are up to 4 feet high. Will form a colony of plants over time but they are not invasive nor aggressive.
Form: Some have arching stems while others grow upright.
Flowers: Generally blossoms in June through summer and resemble feathery plumes. Tiny flowers form upright or arching panicles from 6 inches to 2 feet long, depending on the cultivar. Colours vary from white and shades of pink, purple, red and salmon. Unscented. Colours slowly fade as blossoms wane.
Foliage: Attractive, soft green fernlike foliage emerge from a central crown. Leaves are comprised of serrated leaflets on compound leaves.
Cultivars & Varieties: Numerous ones available including Astilbe arendsii ‘Fanal’ with red blossoms and bronze-like leaves that grows 1 to 2 ft. Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila' is compact with light mauve flowers up to 2ft tall.
Soil & Care: Requires moist fertile soil especially if planted where they receive sun in the afternoon. They wilt quickly if it is too hot and too dry.
Sun: Part shade to shade.
Propagate: Divide rhizomes in early spring.
Uses: Apparently are deer resistant. Cut flowers, massing, water gardens, woodlands, shady garden beds, clay soils.
Comments: This lacy, frilly, ferny, feathery plant is perfect for an understory where it will receive partial shade. Too much sun and dry soil will takes its toll on this shade loving perennial. Marginal wetlands plants that are perfect besides ponds, marshes and bogs. They are also suitable for wet clay soils.
Depending on the variety, flowers emerge in late spring into fall. Blossoms are long lasting, usually 4 to 6 weeks.