Astrantias, also known as Hattie’s pincushion or masterwort, are charming perennials with branched heads of neat pincushion flowers, surrounded by a ruff of greenish white bracts in summer.
They perform best in moist soil and make good ground cover plants if planted and grown in a group. They’re also superb perennials for growing under trees, on a stream bank or in a moist border, tolerating drier soils as long as the plants are mulched.
After flowering, astrantias can be rejuvenated by cutting them back close to the ground – fresh new foliage and a late crop of flowers start appearing shortly after. Astrantias don’t spread far but are well known for self-seeding. Read our three tips for growing astrantias.
More plants for shade content:
Here are 10 beautiful astrantias to grow.
Astrantia ‘Star of Fire’
Astrantia ‘Star of Fire’ is a stunning variety, bearing deep red bracts tipped with black. Its green leaves are edged in pink and black.
Astrantia ‘Bloody Mary’
Astrantia ‘Bloody Mary’ has deeply divided, dark green leaves and dark red flowers with a silvery green centre. It’s ideal for growing towards the front of a mixed herbaceous border, especially in a cottage garden setting.
Astrantia ‘Claret’ is a beautiful variety with deep red pincushion flowers.
Astrantia major ‘Alba’
Astrantia major ‘Alba’ produces white blooms from June through to October. Try growing it with alongside plants with dark foliage, such as Sambucus nigra ‘Black Beauty’.
Astrantia major ‘Burgundy Manor’
Astrantia major ‘Burgundy Manor’ is a beautiful variety with ruby-red pincushion flowers with a persistent bract, shading from pink through to greenish-white.
Astrantia major var. rosea
Astrantia major var. rosea bears white-pink blooms, over dark foliage.
Astrantia ‘Madeleine-van-Bennekom’ bears large, green-tipped white flowers over short green stems, during midsummer.
Astrantia ‘Buckland’ is a highly attractive perennial with a burst of fresh green leaves followed by green and pink flowers on wiry stems.
Astrantia ‘Hadspen Blood’
Astrantia ‘Hadspen Blood’ is a beautiful variety with carmine-red pincushion flowers on maroon stems.
Astrantia ‘Gill Richardson’
Astrantia ‘Gill Richardson’ produces deep cherry-red flowers from April to September.
If you have very dry soil, add lots of well-rotted organic matter, such as leaf mould to improve it. Dig a planting hole, remove plants from the pot and position in the hole. Backfill with soil and firm in. Water in well, and keep watering through the first summer if you have a very well-drained soil.