Astilba - a favorite of shadow gardens: planting rules and recommendations for care
- Type: Saxifrage
- Flowering Period: June, July, August
- Height: 8-200cm
- Color: pink, burgundy, lilac, snow-white
The herbaceous perennial astilbe is very much appreciated by experienced gardeners and novice lovers for its lush flowering. And its name, which arose from the merger of the two words "a" and "stilbe", is a vivid confirmation of this, in the Greek translation denoting the expression "very brilliant." Spreading bushes look unusually spectacular even at the end of flowering - dissected green leaves remain attractive throughout the garden season. When planning to start this unusual perennial on your own, it is important to know how to properly plant and care for the astilbe. Knowing the subtleties and nuances of caring for this unpretentious culture, you can create beautiful plant compositions.
Under natural conditions, Astilba grows in the deciduous forests of North America and East Asia, which are characterized by a humid climate.
Astilba is a favorite of shady gardens, decorated with spectacular inflorescences, collected from many openwork flowers of lilac, lilac, pink and snow-white shades.
The plant has upright thin stems, the height of which, depending on the species, can reach one and a half meters and above.
The woody rhizome of the plant annually forms new buds, from which stems grow in the spring, and die with the onset of cold weather. The annual growth of the rhizome itself is about 5 cm. In the fall, each time the roots that have developed over the summer and expose themselves are sprinkled with fertile soil.
Perennial stems are decorated with elegant cirrus, dissected or long-leaved leaves of dark green color. And the apical inflorescences of a pyramidal, panicled or rhomboid form complete the picture, pleasing flowering in the season for 25-40 days. After flowering, the flowers collected in panicles form fruit-boxes filled with small seeds.
Astilbe in garden design
Astilba has been used in landscape design since the beginning of the 20th century. Due to the variety of shapes and a rich color palette of inflorescences, designers use it to realize the most daring ideas.
Astilbe bushes look appropriate on the background of picturesque alpine hills or group plantings of conifers with their richly green needle foliage
Gardening with astilbe is often included in the design of artificial ponds, planting a perennial as a source frame. Bells, geyhera, daylilies can make a worthy addition to the picturesque corner.
Harmoniously, she also looks in flower arrangements. A good neighborhood can be obtained by planting shade-loving ferns and hosts next to the astilbe. Dwarf varieties of this beautiful flowering perennial are a real decoration for a small shady flower garden. In the spring, while the leaves on the astilbe have not yet blossomed, the empty space around it in the flower garden can be filled with miniature crocuses and snowdrops.
Plants with large dense leaves help to balance the openwork foliage of a perennial: hosta, rogers, incense, cuff, bought, lilies of the valley, hellebore
One of the reasons for the popularity of astilbe is its ability to get along in the shade of trees. Feeling comfortable even in the shade, she does not cease to delight with colorful flowering. In a cut form, the exquisite inflorescences of astilbe are used in arranging bouquets and for creating floral arrangements.
Popular varieties of astilbe
In decorative gardening, there are about two hundred varieties of astilbe, created on the basis of a dozen species. The most popular hybrid groups are: Japanese astilba, Arends, leaf and Chinese.
Hybrids of the Japanese astilbe have a height of 40-80 cm. The stems are decorated with foliage with a pronounced ornament, the color of which ranges from pale green to reddish-brown. Dense inflorescences of a rhomboid shape are painted in raspberry, red and white shades.
The most famous varieties: "Montgomery" with burgundy inflorescences, "Rheinland" with panicles of pink-salmon hue, "Deutschland" white airy inflorescences
Dense inflorescences of plants of this group bloom much earlier than other varieties. Even after drying, they retain their decorative effect, decorating the flower garden until winter.
The species is named after its creator breeder G. Arends and is represented by 40 varieties. The height of medium-sized crops reaches 0.6-1 m. The stems are decorated with dark green foliage with a burgundy border, having a spherical or conical shape, and spectacular inflorescences of cream, yellow and pink shades.
The most decorative varieties are: “Boogie Woogie” with pink diamond-shaped inflorescences, “Gloria” with delicate foliage and fluffy pink panicles, dwarf perennial “Liliput” with pinkish-salmon blossoms
The leafy astilbe does not tolerate a dry climate. It is distinguished by pale green undivided leaves with a glossy surface and unusual pyramidal inflorescences resembling drooping panicles.
The most beautiful varieties of this group: “Bronze Elegans” with delicate bronze inflorescences, “Straussenfeder” with bright coral flowers, “Praecox Alba” with lush white “candles”
Chinese astilbe has a powerful rhizome, which displaces neighboring plants as it grows. Perennial stems, whose height does not exceed 110 cm, are decorated with openwork foliage framed by thin golden hairs, and dense inflorescences of white, lilac and pink flowers.
The most beautiful varieties are considered: “Vision in Red” with bronze-green foliage and lilac-red flowers, “Vision in Pink” with blue-green foliage and light pink panicles, “Purpurlanze” with purple flowers on reddish stems
To decorate suburban areas, it is better to choose medium-sized varieties of culture. They are more resistant to adverse climatic conditions.
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- Dwarf - up to 30 cm high.
- Low - up to 60 cm.
- Srednerosly - up to 90 cm.
- Tall - up to one and a half meters.
Different varieties of this perennial differ in flowering terms: the early ones bloom already in early June, mid-sized hybrids set bright accents in the middle of summer, and late-flowering flowers decorate the garden with colorful “torches” near the end of the season.
Perennial propagation methods
In one place, the shrub can grow up to five years, after which it must be rejuvenated. Perennials are propagated both in early spring and late autumn, using a vegetative or seed method for this.
Method # 1 - vegetative
This method involves dividing the rhizome into 2-3 parts, each of which has a faded stem with a sleeping bud. When vegetatively propagated, astilbe can be planted at any time. The main thing is to provide sufficient moisture in the first days after transplantation.
Bushes also take root well during flowering, provided that the same humidity regime is observed.
In the vegetative method, a lignified rhizome is dug out of the ground, washed in water and cut into several sections using a secateurs or shovels
The rhizome should be divided so that in each cut-off plot there are 2-3 replacement buds at the base, from which young shoots will then go.
The size of the plot is not significant, it will be enough and a section of rhizome 3-5 cm long. They are planted at a distance of 30 cm from each other. The very next season, planted plots go actively in growth and dissolve lush panicles.
Method # 2 - seed
This method is quite laborious, but it allows you to display new growth. Collect seeds from plants in early September, carefully cutting off inflorescences with boxes. They are laid out on paper and left in a warm place for two weeks. To get the smallest peas, just shake the dried panicles. Harvested seeds are placed in a bag and left until spring.
When growing astilbe from seeds, planting material is sown in February - March in containers filled with a mixture of peat and sand, taken in a 3: 1 ratio.
Astilbe seeds are very small and they germinate rather slowly, therefore it is advisable to stratify them first
Seeds are scattered over the surface of moistened soil and covered with glass or plastic wrap. At this stage, it is important to observe the moisture regime, not allowing the soil to dry out. Some gardeners recommend using “snow” from the freezer, which will gradually moisten the soil as it melts.
The first shoots appear after 3-4 weeks, but only at the end of the season they form small rosettes of leaves. Water delicate seedlings should be very careful, directing a thin stream of water under the root.
If the young bushes in the greenhouse do not crowd each other, they can not be disturbed until next spring. Bushes grown from seeds will delight flowering in the third year of planting.
Astilba landing rules
This crop grows best on loose and slightly acidic soils. It is possible to lower the acidity to the required level within the range of 5.5-6.5 pH by adding wood ash or dolomite flour during digging.
Astilba prefers shaded areas located a short distance from the spreading crowns of trees. The best option is a sparse shadow.
When choosing a place, you should focus on the timing of flowering. Early and late varieties can be placed both in open areas and in partial shade. Mid-flowering plants are best planted in shaded corners, since the scorching July sun significantly reduces the time of their flowering.
Perennial is desirable to place in such a way that in all its glory not only openwork inflorescences appear, but its graceful leaves open to the eye
Astilbe are hydrophilic in nature. Most varieties feel comfortable on marshy soils, calmly transferring water stagnation.
The landing pit is half filled with humus, which is thoroughly mixed with soil. It will be useful to introduce organic fertilizers, taking them at the rate of 2 buckets of manure per 1 sq.m. fertilizers. Enriched soil is watered. After waiting until it is completely absorbed, they plant a plant and sprinkle it with earth so that the thickness of the layer above the replacement buds is about 4 cm. The soil around the stem is compacted and, to exclude the formation of air niches in the soil, is watered again.
Care Tips and Tricks
To minimize the care of this flowering crop, it is enough to follow a number of simple recommendations:
- During the vegetative period, feed with complex fertilizers. It is possible to provide the root layer of the soil with the necessary volume of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus when digging in the spring, making at the rate of 30 g / sq. In mid-July, they are fed with potassium nitrate (2 tablespoons per 10 liters of water) and the last top dressing after flowering is completed with superphosphate, distributing it 20 g per bush.
- Carry out timely watering. The moisture-loving plant does not tolerate long-term drought. On hot summer days, you need to water it up to two times a day. The culture especially needs enhanced watering during the formation of inflorescences. It is better to water astilba in the early morning and after sunset.
- Mulch the soil. Mulching the planted area with wood bark or shavings will help preserve soil looseness and reduce moisture loss. Mulch will prevent the land from overheating in the summer and freezing roots in the winter months.
- Every five years, rejuvenate the bush. The ability of plant rhizomes to quickly grow mass requires periodic rejuvenation of the bush. At the end of each season, bare rhizomes must be sprinkled with fresh soil. Otherwise, young shoots sticking out with old roots are exposed and dry, which, in turn, negatively affects the quality and duration of flowering.
- Fight pests. Nematodes and slobbery pennies are the main pests of the plant. They affect the leaves and rhizomes of the plant, provoking its withering and death. You can get rid of the nematode only by completely destroying the affected specimen. Pennies are a little easier. Her larvae can be tried to be destroyed mechanically, without injuring the roots and stems, or using garden chemistry: confidor, actara, karbofos.
- After flowering, trim the peduncles. But some gardeners, by contrast, leave dried flower stalks uncut so that they adorn the spring garden as long as possible.
- Cover the plant for the winter. In winters with little snow, the bulk of the varieties of this flowering crop freeze. To prevent this before the onset of cold weather, the stems are cut to ground level, the bare roots are mulched with peat and covered with fir spruce branches.
In the future, a stronger plant will fight weeds on its own - its powerful roots do an excellent job of this.
Weeding this moisture-loving beauty is necessary only at the beginning of its growth at the stage of rhizome and green mass growth
Finally, we suggest watching an interesting video about the autumn pruning of an astilbe: