I’ve seen two interesting pink-flowered astilbes with colourful foliage developed in recent years, Astilbe ‘Chocolate Shogun’ with maroon-brown leaves and A. ‘Amber Moon’ with red-edged, amber-yellow foliage. Now, here’s another with impressively contrasting foliage and flowers.
The black-and-white combination of dark foliage and white flowers is an elusive one. Generally a breeding breakthrough in dark foliage tends to adversely affect flower colour. In A.‘Cappuccino’ this isn't the case and this variety also has other valuable features.
Its compact mass of blackish-bronze foliage is striking from when the shoots first emerge in spring. After flowering it develops greener tints but remains noticeably rich in tone.
From June to August white plumes of flowers open. The stems are a contrasting reddish-purple and are shorter than many astilbes, so the flowers sit just above the foliage. The plumes are also broader than many varieties giving it more impact.
In its first year in the garden the foliage of A. 'Cappuccino' reaches about 40cm (16in) in height while the plumes reach about 70cm (27in). It appreciates a sunny position in soil that does not dry out, making it a fine companion for hostas.
A. ‘Cappuccino’ was developed by Hans van de Meer at his nursery near Leiden in the Netherlands. It was first selected from seedlings that resulted from crossing unnamed forms of A. × arendsii and A. japonica.
Astilbe 'Cappuccino' is available from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries
** Please note the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and are not necessarily those of the RHS **