Astilbe have been cultivated since the late 1700s and have become a staple in the shade garden. They offer a feathery texture with the foliage and great vertical, fluffy spires of flowers.

Blooms in June, July, or August come in shades of pink, lavender, red, and white and are wonderful as cut flowers when many blooms of the shade garden have past.

Besides their lovely appearance, Astilbe are one of the best choices for the ever-so-common semi-shady moist spot in the garden. With that in mind, they combine well with Hosta, Acorus, Ligularia, ferns, Pulmonaria, and Japanese iris. Since they have been admired for centuries there is an overwhelming array of varieties and hybrids available.

We have broken down the varieties into the major groups, which share characteristics such as bloom time density, and vigor.

Astilbe arendsii'Fanal'
Astilbe arendsii

Astilbe x arendsii

Hybrids from Germany bloom in mid to early season with perhaps the widest bloom color selection and dark new leaves. They are hardy in zones 5-8.

Some varieties include:

'Amethyst' - Early, lilac pink flowers, plants reach 30-36" tall and 24" wide.

'Bridal Veil' - Profuse, white to creamy yellow flowers. Plants reach 30" tall and 18" wide.

'Fanal' - Early, dense, crimson red flowers and bronze new growth. Award wining variety. 24" tall and 18" wide.

Astilbe chinensis var. pumila 002
Astilbe chinensis

Astilbe chinensis

Chinese astilbe are exceptionally vigorous in growth and have dense, later blooming (July - August) flowers. They are hardy in zones 5 - 8.

Some varieties include:

'Pumila' - A distinct variety for it's dwarf habit, 8 - 10" tall and 10" wide. Dense mauve to lilac plumes. Great edging plant.

'Purple Candle'- dark purple plumes in summer.

Plants grow 2-4' tall 2' wide.

'Vision' Series - a group of midsize Astilbe reaching 12 - 18"tall and 20" wide.

Lacy foliage is topped by dense flowers in shades or pink, red, or white.

Astilbe 'Peach Blossom'
Astilbe x japonica 'Peach Blossom'

Astilbe x japonica

Japanese hybrids are early to mid season (May, June, or July) bloomers with wide fluffy spires.

Varieties include:

'Montgomery' - A dark red flowering variety with glossy green leaves that emerge bronze in spring.

It grows 20" tall and wide.

'Peach Blossom' - Pale pink to peach flowers in May and June.

Grows 24" tall and 18" wide.

'Rhineland' - Dense, bright pink plumes in May through June.

Plants reach 2' tall and wide. Described as one of the best early blooming varieties.

Astilbe simplicifolia1
Astilbe simplicifolia

Astilbe simplicifolia

This group of Astilbe is smaller with finely cut foliage, and shorter light pink blooms.

The most readily available variety is 'Sprite'. It has light pink plumes in June and grows 10 - 12" tall and wide.

Astilbe thunbergii ÖBG 09-07-16 03
Astilbe thunbergii

Astilbe thunbergii

This group has dramatic, large, drooping panicles in July and August.

The plants are also larger growing and cold hardy to zone 4.

'Straussenfeder' (a.k.a Ostrich Plume) has graceful, arching magenta plumes on plants that reach 30" tall and 20" wide.

Astilbe 'Color Flash Lime'
Astilbe 'Color Flash Lime'

Newer hybrids

'Chocolate Shogun' - stunning burgundy foliage topped with light pink flowers June through July.

Grows 20-24" tall and 12-18"wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

'Color Flash Lime' - bright chartreuse leaves with soft pink flowers iin June and July.

Grows 24-36" tall and wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Find the Best Perennials for your Garden

We have a wonderful selection of perennials year round, but if you are looking for a specific perennial we will have the best selection when it is in bloom around town. Note: Native plant pages will take you into the Native Plant section.


Lewisia: Bitterroot