Common Name: astilbe
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: July
Bloom Description: Deep red
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Heavy Shade, Black Walnut
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, humusy, organically rich soils. Soils should 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 when clumps become overcrowded (every 3-4 years).
Astilbes are mainstays of shade and woodland gardens. They are clump-forming perennials which feature graceful, fern-like mounds of mostly basal, 2-3 ternately 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. One of the Arendsii hybrids. The Arendsii hybrids are a large group of hybrids involving crosses between A. chinensis, A. japonica, A. thunbergii and A. astilboides and are named after German nurseryman George Arends (1862-1952). Because of the different and sometimes complex parentage of the plants lumped under this hybrid grouping, Arendsii hybrids can vary considerably as to plant size, inflorescence shape, leaf color/shape and bloom period. Generally, however, they are early bloomers (late spring in St. Louis) which grow 1.5 to 4’ tall with ovate to lance-shaped leaflets. ‘Fanal’ is noted for having perhaps the darkest red flowers of any of the astilbes and for its bronze foliage. It is a compact cultivar which typically forms a foliage mound to 9-12” tall with narrow panicles of dark crimson red flowers appearing on upright, 15-18” tall stems. Foliage emerges bronze but tends to turn dark green with a reddish tint as the summer progresses.
No serious insect or disease problems. Unlike the Chinese astilbes (A. chinensis cultivars), the Arendsii hybrids have little if any drought tolerance. Foliage decline (leaves brown up), sometimes with significant dieback, will often occur in hot summers and/or periods of drought if soils are not kept uniformly moist.
Mass or group in shade gardens, woodland gardens and shaded areas of border fronts or cottage gardens. Excellent ground cover or edging plant for shady areas. Effective on pond or stream banks.