I brought 3 Astilbes today, the info tag on one states sun or part shade, the other 2 show full sun. None of the tags said there was a problem with sandy soil. However, when I checked my Flower Expert book it states that if you have sandy soil forget it! My soil is sandy but we have added to it over the years and I don't have problems growing most plants. Can anyone please tell me how best to plant these to give them a chance of growing in our soil.
Don't fret - astilbes do prefer wet, but aren't desperately fussy and temperamental by the standards of many. I myself prefer 20C and a coastal breeze, but I'm struggling on. To realy pamper them, dig a hole twice as deep as the astilbe pots and the width of roughly however big you think they'll get. Get a bg binbag and cut slices every couple of inches to let water thru, then pop in the bottom and a little up sides of the hole. Backfill with soil and plant as usual. Adding a wee bit of pre-soaked swell-gel around the roots wouldn't hurt (i've been soaking mine in plant food mix). It'll all just help the area hold water longer and stay cooler, which will help somewhat even in the long term, but be really beneficial while they establish. Btw, its worth checking them after a week and possibly popping some more soil over them - sandy soil has a tendency to sink anyway, but there'll have been pockets in the binbag 'liner' that should have filled within the first week or so, potentially leaving the rootballs a bit proud, which astilbes on a light soil and in a heat wave will HATE! If in doubt, bury them extra deep to be sure they wont bake when you turn your back for 5 minutes! Bx
It's always best to plant those things,that like your soil. Then your plants are happy amd will thrive. Eventually astilbes will struggle,there....sorry. You do need to water well, ESP now when they are flowering. Do this and they should be fine.
If ??ou,have sandy soil get plants that love that situation. There are loads but if you look at those classified as "Mediterranean" plants you will do better. Easier on your time and pocket as they will need little looking after.
I have just "won" two "Fanal" Astilbes from the casualty ward at a Homebase garden centre. £2 each instead of £8.
The plants have now been well soaked and the dried up foliage chopped off and they look good to go with new shoots in sight. I have very sandy soil which I will bulk up with all purpose compost and plant them over some holey plastic compost bags and see what happens. It's good to know it can work.
The border does offer shade and I have nothing much to lose by trying.
astilbes LOVE damp soil. I would reconsider your strategy .....multipurpose compost and perforated plastic bags are not the way to go
my soil is sandy loam.......enriched over the years with plenty of manures, composts, bulky raw seaweed etc., etc. so it now holds moisture well and is rich. I grow several varieties of astilbes, including the dark leaved beauty Shogun but all are where soil is richest and where I can provide some shade. My plants are large and floriferous
get dried farmyard manure, pelleted chicken manure and mix well and generously with your excavated soil. Dig a generous hole. Put manure in the bottom of the planting hole. Loosen roots and plant with mixed soil.......add fish blood and bone to your mixture. Plant so your plants are in a slight recess to create a reservoire and water really well. Repeat the watering then mulch with compost enriched with pelleted chicken manure.
Never let the area totally dry out and water generously during dry spells
planting in poor sandy soil is far from ideal but enriching it generously will help dramatically
the astilbe shown has been flowering for many weeks and now beginning to go over but it is a metre high and more wide. It has been superb. Long after the flowers have gone the foliage will look good......IF given the moisture it needs