Common name: Astrantia
These easy-to-grow, summer-flowering perennials are valued in borders for their subtle, muted flower colours that combine easily with other showier plants. They mingle well with grasses too, and make good underplanting for roses in cottage garden schemes.
The dainty flowers appear in early summer, with an outer ruff of longer petals around a pincushion-like centre. They come in shades of greenish-white, pink or maroon, depending on the cultivar, and are held in clusters at the top of straight stems (30-90cm/1-3ft tall), above clumps of deeply lobed foliage. Astrantias are hardy perennials, dying down in autumn, then reappearing in spring.
Astrantias are happy in most ordinary garden soils, but do best in fertile soil that drains easily. They grow well in sun or light shade.
Astrantias won’t grow well in excessively dry or wet soils, and won’t flower in deep shade. In hot, dry weather in full sun they can crisp up, so keep them well watered.
Did you know?
It’s best to deadhead astrantias to keep them flowering. If you leave the old flowerheads to form seeds, this delays the production of new blooms. So once all the flowers on a stem start to fade, snip it off down at the base.
Buying: garden centre plants
Perennial borders: choosing plants
Perennials: cutting back
Shade planting: annuals, bulbs and perennials
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