Astilba: planting and care in the open ground, varieties with photo
If you want to decorate your garden with an unusual plant, then pay attention to astilbe. It grows in the form of a herbaceous shrub, prefers partial shade, and tolerates severe Russian winters. She has original flowers and beautiful medium-sized leaves of openwork shape.
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From this article you will learn how to plant this plant in your garden and how to care for it throughout the year. We will also talk about the most beautiful and popular varieties of astilbe.
What does astilba look like
Astilba is an ornamental perennial plant of the Saxifrage family. The flowers are soft and fluffy, combined in inflorescences of different shapes and lengths. Depending on the plant variety, there are inflorescences in the form of a rhombus, a pyramid, a panicle, etc. The length of the inflorescences also varies, from 10 cm to half a meter or more.
The height of the shrub itself, depending on the variety, can be either 15 cm or 2 m.
There are 25 species of this plant in the world. In vivo, astilba grows in East Asian countries. Some species (in the amount of two) are also found in the Russian Far East. For decorative purposes, hundreds of varieties are used. In our country, they prefer a hybrid Montgomery.
The main feature of astilbe is that it does not need a lot of sunlight for development. Unlike most plants, this flower prefers shaded areas.
The second important rule for growing is the need for mulching the soil. The fact is that the plant prefers moist nutrient soil. Therefore, moisture must be maintained as long as possible. For this, mulching with sawdust, dry grass and even small stones is used. Under such conditions, the plant feels best.
Features of planting a flower in open ground
Before planting a plant in a permanent place, the site needs to be dug up and fertilized. It is also advisable to clear the soil of stones, weeds, residual roots of other plants, etc.
IMPORTANT! Astilba is a friendly neighbor to most ornamental plants.
How to plant a plant?
After digging the soil you need to make fertilizers. You can use rotted manure (up to 1 bucket per 1 sq. M), bone meal (about 100 g per 1 sq. M) or complex mineral fertilizer (in the dosages indicated on the package). Using these fertilizers, the soil is saturated with potassium, phosphorus and other compounds. Feeding should be thoroughly mixed with soil and add water.
Next, you need to select high-quality planting material:
- The roots of the plant should not be dry or excessively waterlogged. It is also worth removing rotten or dead parts.
- Shoots should be small and look healthy in appearance.
Then, in the selected area, a hole is dug into which the plant is placed. Please note that the size of the pit must be such that the root system of the flower fits completely into it. The roots must not be allowed to bend.
Cover the pit with earth gradually. Periodically compact the soil so that there are no voids. In the end, do not forget about mulching with sawdust or bark. Mulch will retain moisture in the soil and protect the roots of the plant from drying out.
How to treat the plant before planting?
Before you plant a plant on the site, you need to carefully examine it. Detected wounds and cuts must be treated with potassium permanganate and crushed activated carbon. This is necessary so that infections from the soil do not get into the roots of the plant.
Also, before planting, you can conduct seedling treatment with insecticides and fungicides. Preparations protect plants from pests and fungi.
Planting astilbe seeds is a rather long and laborious process.
First, seed material needs to be prepared. To do this, for 3 weeks, the seeds are placed in the refrigerator, and then transferred to a warm (at least 18 degrees) and lighted room.
Next, the seeds are planted in plastic boxes for seedlings. Please note that the soil mixture should consist of 1 part sand and 3 parts peat.
Seeds germinate in about a month. All this time you should water them regularly.
As soon as the first leaf appears, the seedlings dive. Landing at a permanent place is made in late May - early June.
How to divide a bush for reproduction?
It is much more effective not to grow astilbe from a seed, but to propagate an adult plant by dividing the bush.
Usually, the division is carried out in the fall, when the plant has already blossomed and is preparing for winter.
First of all, you need to trim the upper shoots. Further, the shrubbery digs out of the ground and carefully inspects. You need to determine which shoots have live buds. Depending on this, division is carried out. The bush is divided into a certain number of parts. Each of them will subsequently become a new plant.
Dead, decayed or dried up roots are cut off, and the cut points are processed with potassium permanganate and crushed coal.
After that, each plant is planted in a new place. The mother bush can be left in the same area.
How to use layering?
In the process of development, new small shoots appear on the rhizome of astilbe, consisting of only a few leaves.
With their help, you can propagate the plant. To do this, you need to separate such an escape from the mother bush. The exposed parts of the rhizome are necessarily processed with potassium permanganate and sprinkled with activated charcoal.
A new shoot landed in a new place, watered and covered with a glass jar or the bottom of a plastic bottle. This creates a greenhouse effect that stimulates the growth of a new astilbe bush.
What soil do plants need?
Astilbe seeds and seedlings are recommended to be planted in a substrate of 3 parts peat and 1 part sand. Such soil provides growth and development of young animals. Adult plants prefer moist, well-drained soils with a high content of phosphorus and potassium.
For astilbe, the issue of hydration is very important. This is not a plant that can tolerate drought. Therefore, when planting a shrub in your area, make sure that water is available for irrigation.
How to choose a place to land?
Astilba prefers shaded areas, but some varieties with light inflorescences can grow in the sun. Their flowering will be even more magnificent, but not so long. Also, late varieties are not afraid of direct sunlight.
Also avoid proximity to other plants with a superficial root system. They will compete with astilba for nutrients. This will negatively affect their growth.
How to care for young plants?
If you first planted an astilbe on your site, then you need to pay special attention to young plants.
Firstly, it is necessary to loosen the soil under the bush. So the water will not stagnate, and the flow of air to the roots is ensured.
Secondly, young plants must be watered. Even adult shrubs need moisture, and seedlings may not survive even a slight drought.
Thirdly, the ground around the bush needs to be weeded. Young astilbe grows much worse if weeds are adjacent to it.
Features of care for adult plants
In the spring
Astilba "wakes up" quite late. For development, she needs a stable average daily temperature of at least 10 degrees.
Caring for astilba in the spring includes hilling, loosening the earth, mulching and applying nitrogen fertilizers.
IMPORTANT! Despite the fact that astilba is very fond of moisture, it is not necessary to let the water stagnate at the roots of the plant. This may cause them to rot. Therefore, in a timely manner, loosen the soil under the shrubbery.
In summer, astilbe needs more frequent and plentiful watering. In the strongest heat, the plant should be watered twice a day, morning and evening.
Also do not forget to spud bushes. The fact is that the roots of astilbe grow upward, and the lower parts gradually die off. If they are above the surface of the earth, they can dry out, which will harm the plant. Therefore, at least twice a season, carry out the hilling.
By the end of summer, the astilbe fades, and the remaining inflorescences dry out. Removing them immediately is optional. For a while, they can still serve as decoration for your garden. But before winter, the astilbe must be cut off.
Pruning should be carried out at the very root, and the rhizome itself should be well mulched with straw, bark or sawdust.
Adult plants tolerate winter well, but young plants may not survive the thaw and subsequent cooling. Therefore, we advise you to additionally cover the bush with spanbond, dry grass or branches for the winter.
Also in autumn, you can transplant astilbe and propagate the plant.
Astilba blooms from late June to early September. It all depends on the particular variety.
To bloom was lush and long, astilbe should be planted in areas with a tenuous shadow, away from direct sunlight. For example, along the shores of artificial ponds or at the northern wall of your site. Although there are varieties that feel great in the sun.
Astilba loves moisture, so it can be planted in areas with a high level of groundwater. The main thing - do not let the water stagnate at the roots. But drought is much more dangerous for astilbe. If the summer turned out to be especially hot, then watering the astilbe needs to be increased. Also do not forget about mulching. This will help to retain moisture in the soil longer. In addition, the plant does not tolerate overheating of roots, which are very close to the surface.
How to care after flowering?
After the astilbe has faded, nothing needs to be done until the very end of the summer season. Firstly, even dry inflorescences on the bush look beautiful. Secondly, so the seeds finally ripen.
Around mid-October, with the onset of cold weather, the astilbe is cut off. Dry branches can be burned, or you can take home and decorate the room with them.
At the same time, the last feeding of astilba is carried out in the year. As fertilizers, compositions with phosphorus and potassium are chosen. It is impossible to apply nitrogen top dressing in the fall.
Next, soil loosening and mulching are carried out. This plant is frost-resistant, but it can suffer after thaws and subsequent cooling. Therefore, with the first frosts, the astilbe is covered for the winter with dry grass or covering material.
How to store in winter and prepare for wintering?
Astilba tolerates the cold season. Problems can occur during snowless winters or after arid hot summers. Due to the fact that the plant has a superficial root system, the roots are sometimes exposed and eventually freeze out.
To prevent this from happening, carefully inspect the bushes in the fall during preparation for the winter.
TIP. If you are still worried about the safety of the bush, in winter add an additional layer of snow on top.
Astilba should be regularly and abundantly watered with settled warm water. Do not use tap water from the hose. This can adversely affect the health and appearance of the plant.
During budding and flowering, astilbe needs to be watered daily, and on sunny hot days - twice a day.
IMPORTANT! Signs of insufficient moisture - drying tips, withered leaves, small pale inflorescences.
Astilba is fed three times a year: in spring, summer and autumn.
Spring dressing It is aimed at stimulating plant growth, the appearance of foliage, the development of shoots and budding. At this time, nitrogen fertilizers are used.
In the summer of dressing make before flowering. The fact is that flower formation is a very energy-intensive process for a plant. And it needs to be additionally fed. Potash fertilizers are used. For example, you can make a solution of 2 tbsp. potassium nitrate and buckets of water.
purpose autumn dressing - prepare the plant for wintering. At this time, phosphoric fertilizers are applied (for example, superphosphate).
IMPORTANT! Feeding is best after watering. Then the soil must be loosened and mulched.
A new astilbe can be obtained from seeds by dividing the bush and using the "shoots".
All methods are relatively simple, but time-consuming. Astilbe is grown from seeds like other crops (tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant). First, seedlings are grown, then they dive and closer to summer they are planted in a permanent place under a small greenhouse or glass jar.
When dividing the bush, you can simultaneously inspect the root system, remove dried and rotted roots. The main thing, do not forget to process "wounds" with potassium permanganate and coals.
An astilba transplant is carried out once every five years. You can transplant in the fall and spring. Experienced gardeners are advised to transplant under the winter. So that for the time while the snow is lying, the astilbe has gained strength and bloomed already in the new summer season. If you transplant a plant in spring, be prepared for the fact that in the first year you may not see blooms.
IMPORTANT! When transplanting, do not forget to fertilize. In the fall - based on potassium and phosphorus. In the spring - based on nitrogen and potassium.
Pruning astilbe carried out in the fall. Much less often this is done in the spring. Autumn pruning allows you to concentrate all the energy and nutrients in the roots of the plant and not spend them on shoots. In winter, when astilbe has nowhere to take mineral elements from, such savings are very important.
Rejuvenation of bushes
If you followed all the rules for growing astilbe, then very soon the flower will grow in your area.
Over the next 5-7 years, you will observe the lush flowering of your pet. But then the astilbe needs to be transplanted.
The fact is that, due to its growth characteristics, the roots of the astilbe, growing, appear at the surface of the soil. They dry out, become vulnerable to frost. The number of inflorescences gradually decreases, the flowers become faded and nondescript. Astilba begins to languish.
To prevent this from happening, the plant must be regularly rejuvenated. To do this, propagate and transplant.
Popular varieties and types of astilbe with photo
In total, there are several hundred varieties of astilbe in the world, including wild-growing varieties. For decorative purposes, only a small part is used. The most popular varieties are in our selection.
Diseases and Pests
Astilba is one of the few plants that is little susceptible to diseases and attacks of insect pests. This feature is found in almost all varieties.
Therefore, you do not need to be purchased with expensive chemicals to combat parasites, but it is enough to prevent astilbe from drying out.
- Inadequate watering. This will inevitably lead to the death of the bush. Astilba does not tolerate drought at all.
- Lack of top dressing. Like any astilbe plant, fertilizers are required for development and growth. If you want your shrub to grow healthy and bloom to be lush, do not forget to feed astilba three times a year.
- Growing astilbe in one place for a long time. Experienced gardeners advise to rejuvenate the shrub and transplant it to a new site once every 5-7 years.
- Growing astilbe in the sun. This plant is able to survive in the light, but it feels much better in the shade.
- Pruning not done in autumn. Shoots must be cut to the very root. Do not be afraid, if you did everything right, astilba will grow next year. But left branches can cause freezing of the entire bush in winter.
Answers to popular questions
Why did astilbe begin to fade leaves?
The plant does not have enough moisture. It is necessary to increase the number and abundance of irrigation.
Why trim in the fall?
Removing shoots before winter is necessary so that the frost does not “break” the branches of the bush. This will negatively affect the health of the plant and may lead to its death. When we cut the shrub, we cover it with straw or twigs. In winter, snow will fall on top. As a result, the astilbe will not freeze and die.
Is it possible not to cover the astilbe for the winter?
Covering an astilbe is not necessary. This is done if the weather is unstable in winter, or the plant is still very young. If you have nothing to cover the astilbe, then just throw more snow on top in winter.
There is no way to plant an astilbe in the shade. What to do?
First, choose varieties with light inflorescences. They better tolerate direct sunlight. Secondly, you will have to water the bush more often. Thirdly, increase the layer of mulch by another 2-3 cm.
Astilba is an interesting and not difficult plant to grow. It does not require regular feeding throughout the season or a special schedule of irrigation. The process of rejuvenating the bush and preparing it for winter is not complicated either.
At the same time, astilba looks beautiful in the garden, filling the shady areas on which not all plants are able to grow. And even after flowering, astilba will delight you with its appearance, thanks to openwork leaves and dry inflorescences.