Astilbes are mainstays of shade and woodland gardens. They are clump-forming perennials which feature graceful, fern-like mounds of compound leaves, usually with sharply-toothed leaflets, and tiny flowers densely packed into erect to arching, plume-like flower panicles rising above the foliage on slender, upright stems. Generally compact, low-growing variety which blooms in mid-season and features narrow, arching flower panicles and narrow, leaves. 'Sprite' is a dwarf variety which features a foliage mound to only 10" tall of slightly glossy, dark bronze-green leaves and drooping panicles of shell-pink flowers on arching stems typically rising 12-18" tall in late spring.
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, humusy, organically rich soils. Soils must not be allowed to dry out. If regularly watered, foliage will usually remain attractive throughout the growing season. A summer compost mulch helps retain soil moisture. Removing faded flower stalks will not prolong bloom but may improve plant appearance, particularly if a ground cover look is desired. On the other hand, many gardeners leave the flower stalks in place after bloom because of the continuing ornamental interest of the dried seed heads. Divide clumps when overcrowding occurs (every 3-4 years).
Ferns, Hosta, Iris, Pulmonaria.
Large Ground cover
Pond or Stream Bank
May to June
Full to part shade
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