Astilbe, False Spirea, False Goat’s Beard
Astilbe Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don is the accepted scientific name for the genus. It was described by David Don in Prodromus Florae Nepalensis in 1825. It was previously named and described by Francis Buchanan-Hamilton and later published by Mr. Don giving reference to Buchanan-Hamilton.
As of 12-17-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 29 accepted species in the Astilbe genus. It is a member of the plant family Saxifragaceae with 34 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
I bought my first Astilbe from Lowe’s in 2010 in Mississippi, but I left it behind when I moved back to Missouri. Then in 2014, I bought another one from Lowe’s. I have told myself many times “NO MORE” plants without names. Well, I knew what an Astilbe was and the pot did have a label… It was the wrong label and I didn’t notice until I returned home. The label was for a completely different plant. SO, I don’t know what cultivar mine is, but it only grows to about 10-12″ tall when it isn’t in flower. I am not a pink person, but this one is OK.
There are a lot of Astilbe cultivars on the market today and some of the species names and their cultivars are:
–Astilbe chinensis-Although The Plant List (2013 update) says that Astilbe chinensis is a synonym of Astilbe rubra, MOST every other up-to-date website says it is an accepted name. Some of the well-known cultivars include ‘Purple Candles’, ‘Maggie Daley’, ‘Visions’, ‘Visions in Red’, ‘Visions in Pink’, ‘Pumila’, ’Superba’, ‘Milk and Honey’…
-Astilbe arendsii-Not a species. The name Arendsii is part of a group of plants developed by George Arends (see below).
-Astilbe brautschleier-Although some companies offer plants called Astilbe brautschleier ‘Bridal Veil’ that is a completely incorrect name. Correctly, it should be called Astilbe x arendsii ‘Bridal Veil’ OR ‘Brautschleier’.
-Astilbe japonica-Accepted scientific name with many well-known cultivars such as ‘Deutschland’, ‘Montgomery’, ‘Red Sentinel’, ‘Peach Blossom’… Ummm… These are also listed by some as part of the Ardensii Group which IS highly probable.
-Astilbe rubra-accepted scientific name.
-Astilbe simplicifolia-accepted scientific name. Some cultivars including ‘Hennie Graffland’, ’Sprite’, ‘Darwin’s Snow Sprite’, ‘Pink Lightning’…
-Astilbe thunbergii-accepted scientific name. Some cultivars include ‘Ostrich Plume’…
The Ardensii Group:
The name Ardensii comes from George Arends, a German nurseryman responsible for 95% of the Astilbe hybrids sold in the US. They include crosses between Astilbe chinensis var. davidii with A. astiliboides, A. japonica, and A. thunbergii. Some of the well-known cultivars in this group include ‘Bridal Veil’, ’Sister Theresa’, ‘Red Charm’, ‘August Light’, ‘Color Flash’, ‘Amethyst’, ‘Bressingham Beauty’, ‘Finale’, ‘Deutschland’, ‘Erica’, ‘Red Sentinel’, ’Spinell’, ‘Flamingo’, ‘White Gloria’ and so on.
Besides the Ardensii Group, there is the Crispa Group, Japonica Group, and Simplicifolia Group. There are MANY more cultivar names and hybrids but I got tired…
Zones: USDA 4-8
Size: 12-36” +, depending on cultivar
Light: Full to part shade. Can tolerate full sun in the climates.
Soil: Moist, well-drained soil is preferred.
Uses: Bedding plant, mass plantings, cut flowers (also the leaves), dried flowers. Can plant in containers and also a good pond-side plant. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Plants are rabbit and deer resistant.
Astilbes are rhizomatous herbaceous perennials. Most species prefer part, light, or full shade over full sun. They are cold hardy in USDA Zones 4a-8a. They are tolerant of wet soil and do prefer supplemental water when dry. HA! Mine didn’t get any supplemental water in 2014 and barely in 2015 so they are fairly drought tolerant, too. It is on the north side of the house though.
I really like this plant even though it is pink…
Never failing to return in the spring after a good winter’s sleep.
The Astilbe really likes this spot on the north side of the house. It doesn’t seem to mind its neighbors getting a little pushy sometimes. It knows sooner or later I will notice and give them a trim.
As always, this Astilbe did very well in 2018.
As always, this Astilbe has made it through another winter. It is one of the perennials I don’t have to worry about making it through the winter. It always does and I have no reason to think it won’t. Like a very dependable friend, it is always there.
Looking better every day.
Looking good and growing! I have severely neglected this plant this year and may decide to move it next spring to a location it gets more attention. I bought an Astilbe x arendsii ‘Fanal’ in 2018 and it is getting A LOT of attention closer to the front of the bed. SO, I better move this one… Wouldn’t want it to feel left out…
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. I don’t know the species (hybrid) yet, but I am always hopeful. It is probably an Ardensii hybrid for obvious reasons.