It’s almost the end of the month and I haven’t picked a plant of the month yet. This is a tough one because I have a touch of that nasty flu that’s going around. And most of my plants are covered with snow.
So in this situation, I decided to focus on a favorite plant that doesn’t bloom until early summer. Thinking about warm-weather plants seems therapeutic when winter has come late and then lingered too long. And the last thing I want to do is be outside in it for extended periods of time.
This particular plant disappeared from my garden a couple of years ago.
Astilbe, sometimes called False Spirea or Feather Flower was growing in my main perennial bed when we first moved here. But over time it was crowded out by other plants. It’s time to reintroduce it this year!
Astilbe prefers partial to full shade, according to Ohio State University. But honestly, in my experience it has grown better in dappled sunlight. I had a garden bed full of Astilbes at my previous garden, in a sunny bed of plants against the house. And here, in the deep shade part of my garden, it just didn’t thrive as well. When I plant it again, I’ll go with a spot that gets a little more sun.
Here’s what I like about Astilbe:
- It blooms for several weeks during the summer months, but even when it’s not in flower, the foliage is among the most interesting of perennials.
- Its blossoms are among the longer-lasting and interesting of cut flowers. If you clip it just before the blooms fully form, the flowers will last in an arrangement for more than a week.
- Its distinctive feathery foliage provides interesting contrast to other plants around it.
- Planted in the right spot, the plant can thrive for years with minimal care.
- It fills a perennial bed with one- to five-foot vertical spikes of color and character.
- It grows well in zones 4 to 9, in moist, well-drained soil but it tolerates some drought.