Growing Astilbe chinensis in the pond side or bog garden is almost a no-brainer.
While this plant prefers a shade location in regular garden soil, as soon as you provide a damp soil, you can grow it in the shade or in the full sun. You may see a bronzing of the leaves in increased sunlight but it will still grow and flower successfully as long as soil moisture levels are maintained.
Sun or shade in damp soils.
The caution that must be delivered is that if you grow this plant in damp soils, it will spread very quickly once established. It will require a yearly edging to keep it within bounds and it will invade the root zone of other plants.
Just A Shovel Of Compost
Feed a shovel of compost in the early spring to keep it happy. That’s all it requires.
Growing astilbe is easy as they are quite hardy up into USDA zone 3.
You can easily obtain more plants by dividing in the early spring or fall. Quite frankly at the speed this plant grows, any other system for the home garden is irrelevant.
Growing Astilbe – Useful Varieties
Astilbe come in a full range of sizes and flower colors. This is not intended to be a complete list as breeders introduce new varieties each year.
You can obtain an astilbe for any height, colours in the white-pink-red-mauve combinations, bloom time from early to late and leaf color now. The sky is the limit it would seem with this plant for our bog gardens.
Astilbe x arendsii hybrids (named after the plant breeder George Arends) ‘Amythest’ 24-inches tall, lavender-mauve blooms, good grower ‘Bressingham Beauty’ 36-inches tall, deep pink blooms, excellent plant ‘Fanal’ 18-24 inches, deep red, old fashioned but with bronzed spring leaves turning green ‘Peaches and Cream’ 24-30 inches tall, pinkish-white plume, midseason bloomer
Check your local garden center for the newer varieties, there will be tons of them.
Astilbe simplicifolia ‘Sprite’ is a dwarf at 18-inches tall, bronzy leaves and soft pink flowers. An excellent plant and award winner.
The Chinese species (A. chinensis) and its hybrids are also available:
‘Vision in Red’ 12-18 inches, purple-red blooms, bronzed leaves, mid-size ‘pumila’ Dwarf 12-inch mounding variety with late-season lavender rose blooms ‘superba’ 36-48 inch tall impressive spikes of lavender magenta in late summer
And the Japanese (A japonica) hybrids:
‘Elle’ 24-30 inches, tall white blooms fading to green instead of dead-brown. Interesting ‘Lollypop’ 18-24 inches tall, pale-pink blooms, green leaves, mid season bloomer ‘Red Sentinel’ 24-30 inches tall, scarlet-red flowers with mahogany stems, mid season blooms
Growing Astilbe beside the water garden or in the bog garden is almost a necessity for some great colours and extended bloom times.
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