Astilbe (Saxifragaceae) are small herbaceous perennials that range in size from 1 to 5 feet tall, depending on the variety. The plants have a vertical, clumping growth habit and bloom with fine-textured, pyramidal, solid inflorescences in cream, white, lavender, pink, purple, red or scarlet. Astilbe grow best in fertile, well-drained soil and are tolerant of harsh weather if provided with enough moisture. The flowers have few pest- or disease-related problems and thrive in shady areas.
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Astilbe America (Astilbe arendsii 'America') has long, pink flower spikes and dark-green, fine-textured foliage. The plant thrives in a wide range of moderate to moist soil types. Astilbe America does well even when planted on pond borders. The plant grows to a mature height of about 2 feet and is adapted to growing in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8. Astilbe America blooms in early summer and has no serious pest- or disease-related issues. The plant is popularly used in borders and in mass plantings. Remove spent flowers to maintain the look of the plant, and divide large clumps in spring and fall.
Astilbe Erica (Astilbe x Arendsii 'Erica') is a tall-growing astilbe variety that blooms with long fronds of pink flowers in the middle of summer. The plant is well-adapted to growing in zones 2 to 7 and thrives in areas of full to partial shade. Astilbe Erica has a soft scent and green foliage colour. The plant is commonly used in combination with the shorter astilbe varieties. Water astilbe Erica regularly, but do not let the roots sit in water. Fertilise in early spring with a natural fertiliser.
Astilbe granat (Astilbe x arendsii 'Granat') is a red-blooming astilbe variety that grows to a mature height of 2 feet with an equal spread. Astilbe granat grows best in wet or continually moist soil. The flowers are suited for borders, mass plantings and woodland gardens. The plants do well in full to partial shade and bloom in the summer. Water the new plants regularly to help establish their root systems. Remove the old foliage regularly before the new leaves emerge. Divide the larger clumps every two to three years in the early spring.
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