2048x1365-gg-Astilbe-LI1383146

How to grow astilbes

We reveal all you need to know about growing beautiful, shade-loving astilbes in this Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Divide
Divide

Do not Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do Divide in March

Do Divide in April

Do Divide in May

Do not Divide in June

Do not Divide in July

Do not Divide in August

Do Divide in September

Do Divide in October

Do Divide in November

Do not Divide in December

Astilbes are great value plants as they bring colour and texture to those tricky, damp and shady parts of the garden.

Advertisement

They produce masses of attractive ferny foliage, and elegant plumes of feathery flowers emerge from late-spring through the summer months. These fluffy plumes are give them their common name of ‘false goatsbeard’. They come in varying sizes from small front-of-border plants, to tall varieties up to 2m in height.

Perfect for woodland-style planting schemes, astilbes team up well with other shade-tolerant plants such as hostas and rodgersias.

More shade planting content:

Take a look at our handy astilbe Grow Guide, below.


Where to grow astilbes

Planting an astilbe in a container
Planting an astilbe in a metal container

Astilbes need to grow in a dappled or part shady location in moisture retentive soil to thrive. They will not tolerate dry soils. They can however tolerate more sun, as long as the soil doesn’t dry out, so make good plants for a bog garden or waterside planting.


Planting astilbes

Dig a generous hole, bigger than the pot, and add some well-rotted manure. Keep newly planted astilbes well watered until established.


Propagating astilbes

Astilbe 'Vesuvius'
Astilbe ‘Vesuvius’

Astilbes are reliable perennials, but they do benefit from being divided every few years. This will regenerate your plant and increase your stock. Divide astilbes in the autumn after flowering or in early spring. Pot up your divisions before planting out.


Astilbes: problem-solving

Astilbes are relatively trouble-free. They’re one of those rare plants that pests seem to dislike, but can be prone to powdery mildews.


Caring for astilbes

2048x1365-gg-Astilbe-LI2562510

Astilbes are easy to care for, provided they’re growing in the right growing conditions. They don’t need deadheading. Simply cut back plants after flowering and divide every three or four years.


Five astilbe varieties to try

Astilbe 'Montgomery'
Astilbe ‘Montgomery’
Advertisement
  • Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ – shorter than other astilbes, and flowers a little earlier. Plants have almost shiny foliage and bear masses of pure white flowers
  • Astilbe ‘Rheinland’ – a compact variety, with dark green/bronze leaves and masses of light pink flowers. It’s perfect for growing towards the front of shady borders
  • Astilbe ‘Heart and Soul’ – a compact, mounded variety with light purple flowers in midsummer that have a slight scent
  • Astilbe ‘Younique Carmine’ – a compact variety, bearing dark green leaves and masses of dark pink flowers. It’s perfect for growing towards the front of shady borders with other shade- and moisture-loving plants such as hostas and primulas
  • Astilbe ‘Federsee’ – has rosy-pink flowers and is a compact variety, suitable for the front or middle or a border where it would combine well with hostas and primulas