The Top 10 Astilbe Varieties for the Mid-Atlantic


astilbe

Astilbe is a large genus of perennial flowers in the family Saxifragaceae. They are native to China and Japan with most species originating in China. Many astilbes have fern-like foliage and flower spikes that resemble an open umbrella (hence the common name “foamflower”). Early summer blooming cultivars can add subtle color to shady garden areas while offering height and structure. These popular perennials demand rich organic soil for optimal growth and performance; they can be temperamental if planted in soils too lean or compacted. They appreciate acidity yet require good drainage and ample water.

In selecting an astilbe variety, there are several factors to consider: flower color, vigor, height, and width as well as foliage texture and color. So here are some of them.

Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ (Syn. A. chinensis var. tacanensis)6-8″

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Deep pink flowers with a white center and light green ferny foliage. This German cultivar has gained popularity as one of the earliest bloomers in the genus, producing large globular flower heads on top of strong upright stems reaching up to 3′. Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ tolerates sun to part shade and blooms from early summer through fall.

Astilbe ‘Fanal’ (Syn. A.’Pumila’)12-16″

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Bright red feathery plumes that arch gracefully over a persistent, arching clump of dark green leaves which turns a rich wine-red in autumn. Astilbe ‘Fanal’ is recommended for moist, well-drained acidic soil and sun to shade locations. Grows 2′ tall by 18-24″ wide.

Astilbe ‘Fireworks’ (Syn. A.’Pumila Rubens’)12-16″

Bright red feathery plumes arch gracefully over a clump of dark green leaves which turns wine red in autumn. An upright grower that reaches a height of 16″, a spread of 12″ and likes shade to part shade location. Prefers moist, well-drained soil and flowers from May until the first frost.

Astilbe ‘Little Princess’ (Syn.’Little Lies’) 8-10″

White plumes with light pink flowers, mounding habit with dark green foliage, 0.5′ tall and wide. A dwarf variety that grows well in shade to part sun.

Astilbe ‘Mango’ 12-16″

Bright red feathery plumes arch gracefully over a clump of dark green leaves which turn wine-red in autumn. This upright grower reaches a height of 16″ and likes shade to part sun location. Prefers moist well-drained soil and blooms from May until the first frost.

Astilbe ‘Pumila’ (Syn.’ Fanal’)4-6”

Flowers small but profuse, bright rose-pink in big flatheads, dark green ferny leaves. A dwarf variety that blooms summer through fall, growing 12-18″ tall and wide in full to part shade locations. Prefers moist well-drained soil.

Astilbe ‘Radiant’ (Syn.’ Crimson Pygmy’) 8-10″

Flowers pale pink with a deeper reddish center blooms on upright stems above the foliage clump which turns wine red in autumn. Stems grow to 10″, height at maturity is 18″-24″ and like shade to part sun location. Prefers moist well-drained acidic soil and flowers from May until the first frost.

Astilbe ‘Red Sentinel’ (Syn.’ Bressingham Ruby’) 10-12″

Huge fluffy plumes of bright red flowers with green ferny foliage, reddish-brown stems, and violet-red fall coloring. This upright grower reaches a height of 10″ and likes shade to part sun location. Prefers moist well-drained acidic soil.

Astilbe ‘Rose Glow’ (Syn.’ Karl Rosenfield’) 12-16″

Rose-pink feathery plumes arch gracefully over dark green leaves which turn wine in autumn on this upright grower that reaches a height of 16″ and likes shade to part sun location. Prefers moist well-drained soil. Flowers May until the first frost.

Astilbe ‘Ruffled Ribbons’ (Syn.’ Chocolate Veil’) 6-8″

Almond pink, white center with ferny dark green leaves and yellow stems. A dwarf variety that grows well in shade to part sun and blooms from May until the first frost. Height at maturity is 10″ and width is 12″. Prefers moist well-drained acidic soil and flowers from May until the first frost.

Conclusion

As the list shows, there are quite a few varieties to choose from when you want astilbe flowers. Astilbes are easy to care for, but make sure you use well-drained soil that is acidic and they will do fine. They prefer shade or partial shade locations, so be sure this is where you plant them. Plant your astilbe early spring to late summer depending on which variety you have chosen. Water regularly until established and then keep carefully watered until fall, just before the first frost.

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