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Plant Profile: Rose Astilbe (Astilbe x rosea)

Astilbe roseaeA hybrid from a crossing of A. chinensis and A.japonica, rose astilbe has the habit of the latter and the flower color of the former. It is a herbaceous perennial and member of the saxifrage family, Saxifragaceae, that also includes Bergenia, coral bells (Heuchera), and foamflower (Tiarella). The clump forming plants form mounds of fern like basal foliage comprising two to three ternately compound leaves with sharply toothed leaflets. The small flowers are carried on arching, densely packed panicles that rise above the foliage in mid-summer. An excellent choice for a moist area with partial shade or filtered sun. The generic name, Astilbe, comes from the Greek words a, meaning without, and stilbe, meaning brightness, referring to the dull appearance of the leaves of some species. The specific epithet, rosea, means rose-like.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Racemes of densely packed white to pink flowers on arching stems in mid-summer

Size: 2-3’ H x 2’ W

Light: Partial shade, filtered shade

Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained; sensitive to drying out

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Care: Low maintence; water during dry spells

Pests and Diseases: Powdery mildew, Cercospora leaf spot, root knot nematode, tobacco ring spot virus, Fusarium wilt

Propagation: Division

Companion Plants: Ferns, hosta, iris, lady’s mantle, lungwort, Solomon’s seal

Outstanding Selections:
‘Peach Blossom’ (3-4’ tall, salmon-pink flowers in large panicles)
‘Queen Alexandra” (deeper pink than ‘Peach Blossom’)