Astilbe Flower: Planting, Care and How To Grow 10 Types (Colors) of Astilbe

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | March 28, 2024

Man kneeling with a shovel looks at an astilbe flower plant after learning how to identify 10 types of astilbe plants, how to grow astilbe flowers, and the planting and care tips for astilbe landscaping.

Bring your shade garden to life by adding Astilbe flower. These plants grow in domes, perfect for edges and along pathways to help define garden spaces.

Their distinctive blooms stand tall above the noticeable greenery in feathery blooms of pink, white, purple, and red.1

So if you’re interested in adding a burst of colorful shapes to your landscape, the Astilbe flower is a perfect choice.

This guide explains evrything you need to know about planting, cultivating and caring for your outdoor ornamental flowers, and showcases 10 types of Astilbe you can grow.

False Goat’s Beard, False Spirea


Astilbe flower image in an oval frame on green background.
  • Characteristics: Feather-like blooms atop fern-like foliage
  • Family: Saxifragaceae
  • Genus: Astilbe Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don
  • Leaf: 3–6 in. long, dark green, oval,
  • Seed: Small, woody type, difficult to germinate
  • Blossoms: Small, many blossomed clusters of specie-specific color
  • Native Habitat: Woodlands, mountains,
  • Height: 3–6 feet
  • Canopy: 2–3 feet
  • Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Native Growing Zone: 3–9

Image Credit: MabelAmber30

Tips For Creating the Ideal Astilbe Garden

Once you’ve settled on growing Astilbe plants, you want to make sure you have a healthy environment for it to grow in.

You have to maintain a moist semi-shaded environment with a lot of organic material.

Making Sure You’re in the Right Astilbe Flower Growing Zone

Astilbe plants grow very well in zones three through nine.11 These are zones that have an array of mild temperature seasons that barely fall below freezing.

You can reference the USDA zone map using your zip code to determine which zone you live in.

Planning Ahead for the Astilbe Flower Growth Rate

Astilbe plants grow slowly, taking some time to establish a durable root system. It usually takes them a year to bloom.

They spread via rhizomes and need to be divided every four years to make room for ample airflow and sunlight. Be patient while waiting for the new growth.

Picking Companion Plants For Growing Astilbe Flower

Companion plants will be plants that also thrive in shady and wet locations.12 Hostas, irises, and coral bells grow in the same manner with a mounded shape and tall spindly flower stalks.

Ferns have similar leaf patterns and can complement the texture of the Astilbe. Select different Astilbe species that bloom at different times to add a pop of color all year.

Tips for Growing Astilbe Flower From a Seed, Cutting, or Seedling

Astilbe seeds can be harvested at the end of summer or early in spring, when the weather is very hot. The flower heads should be dried and faded to a gold color, very much like wheat.

Closeup of a feathery white astilbe flowers in a forest.

(Image: Pezibear29)

Grab the stalk and roughly crumble the entire flower head into a bowl. The seeds are fine, like dust and will be near inseparable from the chaff left over from the flower petals.

Lay the seeds on moist organic potting soil, without pressing them in. If possible, use an average of four to five seeds per plant.

They will take 28 to 35 days to germinate.13 Keep in mind, starting Astilbe from seeds is very hard to do.

Most seeds tend to rot before germinating and sometimes the plants are short lived and do not resemble the parent plant because of all the hybridization.

If the seeds germinate and sprout roots, they become seedlings. Seedlings are best started in containers where soil conditions can be monitored closely.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy as this will drown the budding roots. Keep the seedling out of direct sunlight.

Over winter the first year and plant the following spring. Avoid planting during the summer months when the soil is at risk for drought,

The easiest method is to grow one from a cutting. If you’ve had any experience dividing hostas, you can separate Astilbe ‘bulbs’.

One clump or rhizome bulb can provide four to six new plants. You can use a shovel to dig into the soil and remove a small portion of the parent plant.

Rinse away as much earth as possible. Select a stem with a fair amount of healthy leaves growing up from the bulb.

You will be cutting this stem and its root section away from the rest of the bulb. Use a disinfected knife, cut down from the top of the root ball, into, and through the rhizome.

This new section, with its leaves stems and partial root ball, can now be placed in wet soil to begin a new plant. The cutting will look and perform the same as the parent plant.

Tips for Astilbe Care and How To Stop Astilbe Flower Disease

Astilbe are generally durable plants, but even they can fall victim to pests and disease.21 Because of the watering needs for Astilbe plants, the area tends to be moist, which can create a plethora of problems.

Leaf spot, powdery mildew, and wilt are common fungal infections for Astilbe. Affected areas will look black, spotty, or wilted.

It’s best to treat untreated areas with a natural fungicide as well as trim away damaged leaves and stems. Since many fungal spores can remain in ground coverings, you need to remove and throw away the surrounding mulch and debris.

Asiatic garden beetles and black vine weevils are two of the most common pests of the Astilbe flower. Beetles lay their eggs in the moist soil and the grubs eat the tender roots of developing plants.

Weevils also attack the root system as well as chew on leaves. You can use organic sprays and systemic control as natural pest solutions for the Astilbe flower.

Astilbe plants are ignored by rabbits and deer but will draw in hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. They are low-maintenance and very easy to care for once established.

10 Astilbe Colors and Varieties

Native to the Asian regions, Astilbes have over 25 different species,17 many with distinctive bloom styles and leaf foliage.

Some have bloom stalks that can reach 6 feet, ideal in backgrounds or along fences, while others are small and compact, perfect for groundcover or container gardening.

1. Astilbe chinensis

The Astilbe chinensis is a dwarf variety,2 its bloom stalk reaching 24 inches tall. It has a ground spread of roughly 12 to 24 inches wide, making it an ideal option for ground coverage.

Blooms appear in mid to late summer and come in a variety of darker shades including red, mauve, purple, and rose.

Long, feathery plumes of pale pink Astilbe flowers stand ou among other plants in a garden.

(Image: Oleg Kosterin22)

The Chinensis variety is more drought-tolerant than other Astilbe varieties.

White Astilbe flowers bloom on tall stalks above broad green leaves in a dense forest.

(Image: branwhee23)

2. Astilbe biternata or False Goat’s Beard

The only variety native to North America,18 the Astilbe biternata can often be confused with the actual Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus), a member of the rose family. The two are often found growing together.

It is a larger variety, with its bloom stalk reaching three to six feet tall and a ground coverage of almost three feet wide. Biternata blooms during spring and summer seasons and are white to cream in color and occasionally a light pink.

3. Astilbe japonica or False Spirea

The Japonica can be cultivated for container gardens,19 with bloom stalks topping off at 12 inches.

If they are being grown in a garden setting, the flower stalks can reach heights of 5 feet.

Focused shot of pink Astilbe spikes with their feathery flowers.

(Image: HMDG24)

Blooms appear in late spring through early summer and are pink,3 red, or burgundy.

A white astilbe plant with its flowers in a rocky garden bed.

(Image: KENPEI25)

4. Simplicifolia: White Astilbe

This variety has a bloom stalk that is only 12 to 18 inches tall with a 12-18 inch diameter for ground coverage.4

Its noticeable white blooms appear from May to June.

5. Rheinland: Pink Astilbe

Rheinland is a hybrid species that blooms in the early summer.5 Its stalk stands about 24 inches tall with a leaf spread 16 inches wide.

It has rose or pink flowers. It is the only variety to have reddish stems which stand out in contrast to its green foliage.

Pink Astilbe flower clusters blooming in a garden.

(Image: Kor!An26)

A bee collects nectar from the light pink blooms of an astilbe plant.

(Image: El Grafo27)

6. Thunbergii

Thunbergii, also called Ostrich Plume,7 grows a 30 inch bloom and has nearly 28 inches of leaf spread.

Its pale pink blooms hang in delicate arches, overhanging the green foliage underneath.

7. Crenatiloba

Commonly called the Roan False Goat’s-beard, the Crenatiloba is a much larger variety,6 with a 6 foot tall bloom stalk. Its blooms appear in June and are usually white, pink, and purple.

8. Astilbe x arendsii

Arendsii is a ground cover variety; its flower stalk is two to three feet tall while its leaf spread is 18 to 24 inches wide. It typically blooms July through August,8 and can be planted alongside other Astilbe flowers for year-round color.

Blooms are red, pink, purple, and white. It is the only variety to have colored foliage, sometimes being green with a bronze tint.

The ‘chocolate shogun’ strain has maroon leaves.

9. Glaberrima

The Glaberrima variety is small and compact,9 its bloom reaching only four to five feet tall. During the late summer months, it has a very delicate spray of flowers that are a distinctive pearl-like pink.

Tall astilbe flower stalks with browned, seed-laden plumes on a rocky surface surrounded by green foliage.

(Image: Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz28)

10. Astilbe x taquetii

Taquetii is a stunning variety,10 growing tall and erect. Its flower stalk reaches two to five feet tall with a one to two foot spread.

Its purple-rose blooms appear in late summer.

While this is only a small handful of all of the varieties out there, it is important to note that most of these varieties are hybrid versions and have been crossed between native species found growing all along Asia.20

How To Identify Astilbe Flower Parts

If you’ve spent a lot of time designing your backyard garden, most likely you’ve seen a few plants that have caught your eye. And with its distinctive bloom and foliage, the Astilbe plant tends to stand out amongst other shade plants.

Identifying Astilbe Leaves

Astilbe leaves are generally dark green. They are three to six inches long,18 one to three inches wide, oval in shape, and have serrated edges.

Graphics showing how to identify astilbe flower with images of its flowers, leaves and bark in oval frames and on green background.

Leaves grow in groups, first as a set of two and then branching further into a set of three at the tip of the stem. The final set of leaves will have three lobes.

They are often described as having a fern-like appearance because they grow pinnately along the stem.

Identifying Astilbe Flowers

Flowers grow in small clusters at the end of stiff vertical bloom stalks. The flowers are fragrant and long-lasting, about two to three weeks.

They attract a variety of pollinators such as bees and butterflies. From a distance, they appear as giant plumes growing high above their dark green leaves.

But up close, the clusters are collections of small individual flowers less than an inch wide with four to five petals. Each flower has a central stamen.

Astilbe plants contain both male and female reproduction parts.

Whether you’re looking for pink or purple flowers or planning to use many types of white flowers in your home garden, the Astilbe flower will more than meet your landscaping goals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Astilbe Flower

Is There Any Type of Astilbe Flower Symbolism?

Astilbe has long lasting blooms and a hardy resilient nature. For these reasons, it’s often used in bouquets to represent enduring love that is patient and persistent.14

How Long It Takes To Grow Astilbe Flower?

Astilbe grows rather slowly. They usually reach their mature height in about a year but wont bloom until the second year of growing.

What Is the Season When To Plant Astilbe Flower for the Best Yield?

Plant Astilbe in the spring. Moisture levels and dappled sunlight will ensure multiple and brighter blooms.

What Is a Good Distance to Consider How Far Apart To Plant Astilbe Flower?

To accommodate their bushy and leafy spread, plant 18 to 30 inches apart.15

How Much Sunlight Does Astilbe Flower Need Each Day?

Astilbe will do better in partial shade with an average of three to six hours of sunlight.16

When Does Astilbe Bloom?

Depending on the variety, most species will bloom from spring to summer. Some will bloom into early fall.

What Colors Are Astilbe Flowers Available In?

Astilbe comes in a range of pink or purple colors, however some can be white or cream and a few display deep burgundy or red blooms.


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13Outsidepride Seed Source, LLC. (2024). Astilbe Seeds – Astilbe Arendsii Bunter Flower Seed. Retrieved December 28, 2023, from <>

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20Klingaman, G. (2024). Plant of the Week: Astilbe. University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Retrieved January 1, 2024, from <>

21State of Connecticut. (2023). Astilbe (Astilbe). The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Retrieved January 1, 2024, from <>

22Photo 100354755 Tall False-Buck’s-Beard (Astilbe chinensis) Photo by Oleg Kosterin / CC BY 4.0 DEED | Attribution 4.0 International. Cropped, resized, changed format. iNaturalist. Retrieved January 8, 2024, from <>

23Photo 204989579 False Goatsbeard (Astilbe biternata) Photo by Brandon Wheeler / Public Domain. Cropped, resized, changed format. iNaturalist. Retrieved January 8, 2024, from <>

24HMDG. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

25File:Astilbe simplicifolia2.jpg Photo by KENPEI / CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported. Cropped, resized, changed format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 8, 2024, from <>

26File:Astilbe ‘Rheinland’ 01.JPG Photo by Kor!An (Андрей Корзун) / CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported. Cropped, resized, changed format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 8, 2024, from <>

27File:Astilbe thunbergii ÖBG 09-07-16 07.jpg Photo by El Grafo / CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported. Cropped, resized, changed format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 8, 2024, from <>

28File:Astilbe taquetii Superba.jpg Photo by Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz / CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International. Cropped, resized, changed format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 8, 2024, from <>

29Pezibear. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

30Plant Flower Astilbe Photo by MabelAmber. (2017, October 9) / Pixabay Content License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Pixabay. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from <>