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Growing Astilbe

Growing Astilbe

Maggie Daley Astilbe



Astilbe, also called false spirea, is a hardy perennial with dark green to bronze leaves and feathery flower plumes in summer. It is an excellent choice for adding color to shaded areas. Seedheads can be left on plants to provide winter interest, but the flowers can also be used as a cut flower. Hardy in zones 4 to 8.

How To Plant

Keep bare root plants in a cool area out of direct sun until planted. Before planting, bare root plants can have their roots soaked in water for 2 to 3 hours to hydrate plants.

Plant outdoors in spring up to 4 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Loosen the soil 12 to 18 inches deep and wide enough to fit all the roots. Incorporate compost or other organic matter into loosened soil. Trim any damaged or broken roots, and spread remaining roots out without bending. Plant so the crown base is level with the top of the soil.


For part shade to full shade, but tolerates full sun in cool climates. It grows best in fertile, moist, well-drained soils high in organic matter content. Astilbe benefits from being mulched and needs regular irrigation, especially during dry periods. It grows poorly in heavy clay soils.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Astilbe is a fairly heavy feeder and benefits from regular fertilization. Use full rates of ALGOplus Flowering Plant 4-6-7 liquid fertilizer or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1.

Common Problems

Astilbe is generally easy-to-grow as long as it is sited properly. Mites, leaf spot, and powdery mildew are occasional problems. Leaf edges may turn brown if plants are too dry.

Alternative Products

Other perennials for shade include Bleeding Heart, Ferns, and Hosta.

Complimentary Products

Can be grown in wooded areas in combination with Woodland Wildflowers.

Product Recommendations

Serenade can be used to help prevent disease problems.

Astilbe Facts

Many hybrid varieties are classified as Astilbe x arendsii, named for German breeder George Arends.

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