Discover the Perfect Astilbe Species and Varieties to Enhance Your Garden

Discover the Perfect Astilbe Species and Varieties to Enhance Your Garden

If you are looking for large, colorful perennials to add a splash of pleasing colors to your garden, Astilbe species varieties are the perfect choice. These hardy plants bloom in early-to-mid June and are known for their dazzling blossoms in various shades. With their preferred shady exposure and moisture-loving characteristics, they are a popular choice for gardens with Western exposure.

Among the many Astilbe species, Astilbe x glaberrima ‘Purpurlanze’ stands out with its rosy-mauve flowers, while Astilbe x arendsii ‘Brautschleier’ boasts delicate pinkish blossoms. Another common variety is Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila’ which reaches a height of only 6-10 inches.

If you live in an area with slightly more extreme temperature variations, Astilbe japonica ‘Peach Blossom’ is the preferred choice. This variety is known for its peach-colored flowers and is very heat tolerant. Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila’ is a superba variety that can tolerate a wider range of soil types, making it a popular choice for many gardeners.

To ensure the optimal growth of these Astilbe species, it is recommended to plant them in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH of around 5.8 to 6.2. Mulching is also preferred to retain moisture and protect the plant during colder seasons.

In our garden in Leeds, we have found that Astilbe x rosea ‘Peach Blossom’ and Astilbe thunbergii ‘Ostrich Plume’ are particularly suitable for shady areas. These varieties are known for their beautiful plume-like seedheads that roll gracefully in the wind.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, Astilbe species varieties are an excellent addition to any garden. With their stunning blooms and easy maintenance, these plants are sure to bring a touch of elegance to your outdoor space.

Astilbes for All Seasons

Astilbes are attractive perennials that can be grown in many varieties. These hardy plants are known for their beautiful feathery plumes of flowers that bloom above their foliage. Astilbes come in a range of colors, from pinkish hues to rosy-mauve tones.

One of the most popular species is Astilbe chinensis, also known as Chinese Astilbe. This species has fluffy spikes of pink flowers and grows well in zones 4 to 8. Another popular variety is Astilbe x arendsii, which is a hybrid between A. chinensis and A. thunbergii. This variety has large plumes of flowers in shades of white, pink, and red.

Astilbe simplicifolia is another species that is often grown in gardens. It has brownish foliage and blooms in late spring. Astilbe taquetii is a species that is popular in Korea, where it is known by the names of ‘Drum and Drumstick’. It has brownish foliage and flowers that are pinkish-brown in color.

One of the most attractive Astilbes is Astilbe superba, also known as the Showy Astilbe. This variety has vibrant pink flowers and can reach a height of 1.5m. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate partial shade and prefers moist soil.

Astilbes are known for their low maintenance and are easy to care for. They require little fertilizer and are generally disease-free. However, they do prefer moist soil, so be sure to water them regularly and mulch around the base of the plant to retain moisture. Astilbes can be planted in the ground in spring or autumn, and they will bloom in the following season.

Astilbes are perfect for adding beauty and texture to your garden. Whether you choose the tall and elegant Astilbe thunbergii or the compact and bushy Astilbe japonica, there is an astilbe variety for every garden. So why not plant some astilbes in your garden today and enjoy their beauty all year round?



Astilbe is a type of perennial plant that is grown for its attractive feathery flower clusters. It is native to regions of Asia, such as Korea and China. In the garden, astilbes are typically planted as a groundcover or as a border plant. They prefer well-drained soils and can tolerate a range of exposures, from full sun to partial shade.

One of the most popular varieties of astilbes is the ‘Brautschleier’, also known as the ‘Bridal Veil’. It has fluffy white flowers that bloom in early summer. Another favorite is the ‘Purpurlanze’, which has purple flowers and dark chocolate-colored foliage.

Astilbes are hardy plants that can withstand cold winters. They are typically pruned in late winter or early spring to promote new growth. Astilbes are also known for their ability to attract pollinators, such as butterflies and bees.

There are many different species and cultivars of astilbes available, each with its own unique characteristics. Some have pinkish flowers, like the ‘Elegans’ and ‘Peach Blossom’ varieties, while others have white flowers with hints of pink, like the ‘Taquetii’ variety. Astilbes can range in height from 1 to 1.5 meters and are often used in rock gardens or as a border plant.

In terms of soil preference, astilbes generally thrive in well-drained, slightly acidic soils. They can tolerate a range of pH levels, but a pH of 5.5-6.5 is considered ideal. Mulching around the base of the plant can help to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

Astilbes are known for their ability to add texture and color to the garden. Their feathery flower clusters provide a soft, elegant touch, while their foliage adds depth and contrast. With their wide range of colors and bloom times, astilbes are a wonderful addition to any garden.

  • Hardy perennial plant
  • Fluffy feathery flower clusters
  • Native to Asia
  • Grown as groundcover or border plant
  • Tolerates range of exposures
  • Popular varieties include ‘Brautschleier’ and ‘Purpurlanze’
  • Pruned in late winter or early spring
  • Attracts pollinators
  • Different species and cultivars with unique characteristics
  • Range in height from 1 to 1.5 meters
  • Suitable for rock gardens or as a border plant
  • Thrives in well-drained, slightly acidic soils
  • Mulching helps retain moisture and regulate soil temperature
  • Adds texture and color to the garden

Common names

Astilbe, also known as False Spirea, is a popular perennial plant that boasts beautiful blooms and attractive foliage. There are several species and varieties of astilbe, each with its own unique characteristics and common names.

One of the most commonly cultivated astilbe varieties is the Astilbe superba. It is a compact plant that originates from China and blooms in a rosy-mauve color. The Astilbe taquetii is another popular variety, prized for its long-blooming period and elegant flowers.

The Astilbe arendsii is a favorite among gardeners thanks to its wide range of colors and its ability to thrive in various soil and light conditions. This variety is known for its impressive height, with some cultivars reaching up to 40cm.

In addition to these popular varieties, there are many other astilbe cultivars available, each with their own unique characteristics and preferred growing conditions. Some examples include ‘Bass’ and ‘Beauty’, two cultivars that are proud of their large and pleasing flowers, and ‘Elegans’, a variety that is prized for its purple haze-like texture.

Astilbes are typically planted in zones 3 to 9 and prefer part shade to full shade exposure. They are known for their ability to attract pollinators and their resistance to pests and diseases. Astilbes also make wonderful cut flowers and can be used in flower arrangements.

One of the standout features of astilbes is their seedheads, which often remain on the plant even after the flowers have faded. These seedheads add visual interest and provide food for birds during the winter months.

Whether you’re looking for a ground cover for a shady area or a splash of color in your garden, astilbes are a fantastic choice. Their wide range of colors, different bloom times, and various heights make them a versatile addition to any garden.

In this article, we will explore some of the favorite astilbe species and cultivars, as well as the basic care requirements for growing astilbes successfully. We will also point out some of the common pests and diseases that can affect these beautiful plants.

Plant type

Astilbes are herbaceous perennial plants that belong to the Saxifragaceae family. They are commonly referred to as false spireas. There are approximately 25 species and many varieties of Astilbe, including Astilbe chinensis, Astilbe japono-chinensis, Astilbe simplicifolia, and Astilbe taquetii. Astilbes are known for their attractive, fluffy plumes of flowers that come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, and red.

Astilbes are typically found in shady, damp areas and prefer well-drained, moist soils. They are hardy plants that can withstand cold winters and can reach a height of 2 to 3 feet. Astilbes have a clump-forming growth habit and often require dividing every 3 to 4 years to maintain their vigor.

Astilbes are versatile plants that can be used in a variety of garden settings. They are often planted in borders, woodland gardens, or as ground cover. Some popular varieties include Astilbe ‘Bridal Veil’, Astilbe ‘Elegans’, Astilbe ‘Glaberrima’, and Astilbe ‘Purpurlanze’. Astilbes are also known to attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to the garden.

Astilbes are easy to care for and require minimal maintenance. They should be planted in partial shade to full shade and watered regularly, especially during dry periods. Mulching around the plants can help retain moisture and control weed growth. Astilbes can also benefit from an application of fertilizer in the spring. Deadheading the flowers after they bloom can help promote continuous blooming and prevent self-seeding.

Astilbes are generally pest and disease resistant, but they can occasionally be affected by slugs, snails, and powdery mildew. Pruning astilbes is usually not necessary, but if desired, it can be done in late winter or early spring to remove any dead or damaged foliage.

In conclusion, astilbes are beautiful flowering plants that can add color and texture to any garden. With their variety of colors and sizes, astilbes complement other perennials and can be used as focal points or as part of mixed planting schemes. Whether in a shady area, a rock garden, or a moist spot in the garden, astilbes are a favorite among gardeners for their easy care and stunning blossoms.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.