Astilbe - Summer Color for the Shade
Shade Garden Showstoppers
Shady garden spaces need something special to “draw you in” – to add texture, interest, dimension and lightness. Astilbe will definitely fill these requirements with their tall, willowy flower plumes, above deep green, ferny foliage. By using several different varieties of Astilbe that have different bloom times, you can create wonderful color for months in your shady garden. They are equally impressive planted en masse in the shady garden.
A Wonderful Companion
Planting compatible shade-loving plants with Astilbe allows you to create an amazing array of texture and color in the shade. Use Japanese Anemone, ferns, Pulmonaria, Dicentra, Hosta, and Aquilegia as nearby garden companions. The various colors and textures will be absolutely lovely together! The foliage of Hosta, Ligularia, Alchemilla (lady's mantle) and ferns will nicely complement Astilbe when not in bloom. And, of course, the later blooming Anemone japonica will look nice as a backdrop with Astilbe foliage into the fall.
Astilbe require a moist, well prepared soil that is high in organic matter, light shade and well-drained soil. As Astilbe are heavy feeders, they should be fed two times a year with Holly-tone, an all-organic, slow-release fertilizer. They should be divided every three or four years, in early spring, to maintain maximum vigor and growth. Once planted and fed, these hardy perennials require little care until time to cut them back in late fall; however, if the foliage gets a little weather-beaten or even sun-burned, just cut the foliage back and they will rejuvenate themselves in no time. If you don't have the time or energy to cut the flower heads off after blooming, just leave them and enjoy the decorative dried flowers through fall!
The bottom line ...
Be sure to add some colorful Astilbe to your shade garden this year
Let your imagination carry you into a special place in the shade this season. Just pull up a comfortable garden chair, sip a cool glass of ice tea and enjoy the "showstopping" garden you have created!
Some wonderful Astilbe cultivars:
Astilbe arendsii Fanal - dark red, 26” tall
Astilbe arendsii Sister Theresa - salmon-pink, 24” tall
Astilbe arendsii Snowdrift - white, 26” tall
Astilbe chinensis Visions - purple-red, 14” tall
Astilbe chinensis Visions in Pink - deep pink, 24” tall
Astilbe japonica Rheinland - rose-pink, 24” tall
Astilbe japonica Deutschland - white, 26’ tall
Astilbe simplicifolia Pink Lightning - bright pink, 16” tall