© RHS, I & I

Introducing...

Astilbe

Botanical name: Astilbe

With fluffy flower spikes in shades of red, pink or white, astilbes put on an impressive summer show. They also provide winter interest if the seedheads are left in place. There is a wide choice, from large flamboyant specimens for spacious borders to compact cultivars for containers, and everything in between. Astilbes are all fully hardy and thrive in damp, shady locations, bog gardens and pondsides.

Looks

Astilbe flowers come in shades of white, pink or red. They are plume-like, sometimes dense and sometimes airy. The stems are upright and, like the leaves, can be tinged red or bronze. They hold themselves in a stately, upright fashion and do not need staking.

Likes

Astilbes like rich, damp soil that contains lots of organic matter. They perform best in light shade, but will cope in a sunny spot as long as the soil stays damp through summer. 

Dislikes

These vigorous plants don’t grow well in very poor soil. They also dislike dry conditions, even in summer. The leaves may scorch in hot sunny weather, so position them where they’ll get some midday shade.

Did you know?

Astilbes are susceptible to vine weevils, whose grubs eat the roots. The most effective treatment is a biological control, which should be watered around the base of plants in late summer.

Growing guide

Browse astilbe

Tall astilbe varieties

Dwarf astilbe varieties

Astilbes we recommend

Buy astilbe from RHSplants.co.uk

Every purchase supports our work as a charity

Useful advice

Bog gardens

Bog gardens

Gardening on wet soils

Gardening on wet soils

Perennials: cutting back

Perennials: cutting back

Perennials: dividing

Perennials: dividing

Shade gardening

Shade gardening

Vine weevil

Vine weevil

Other plants you might like

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.