ASTILBE

Some perennials will grow almost anywhere in the garden, but not Astilbe. This attractive plant, sometimes called False Spiraea, will only thrive if the soil is moist and peaty – it can be used in boggy land where little else would succeed. The foliage is deeply cut and often coppery in spring, and the flowers are tiny. What the blooms lack in size they make up for in quantity – between June and August large feathery plumes appear which are clothed with a multitude of flowers. Water freely in dry weather.

VARIETIES: The popular varieties belong to A. arendsii-height 2-3 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft. The upright spikes are available in many colours – ‘Bressingham Beauty’ (pink), ‘Fire’ (red), ‘Deutschland’ (white). The deep red ‘Fanal’, the rose-coloured ‘Federsee’ and the white Irrlicht’ are also widely available. The plumes are not always erect – ‘Ostrich Plume’ (pink) bears pendent (lower-heads. For dwarf plants grow A. simplicifolia ‘Sprite’ (1 ft. pink).

SITE AND SOIL: Soil must be moist and rich in humus – thrives best in light shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps every 2 or 3 years in spring.

A. arendsii Bressingham Beauty’

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