Common names for this plant are Meadowsweet and False Spiralea.
Alstilbe is an easy to grow, low maintenance and virtually pest-free perennial that will add gorgeous splash of soft, wispy colour to your garden. Flowers come in shades of pink, magenta, white, red and lilac.
This hardy perennial can be grown in full sun or partial shade as it does equally well in both spots, in zones 4-8.
Alstilbe has fern-like, airy foliage, with the blooms growing on tall, stiff stalks above the foliage. They are a perfect companion for broader leaf plants like hosta. No deadheading required! Astilbe is propagated by dividing the roots in the late summer or early fall.
In order to flower, Astilbe roots need 10 to 12 weeks at a temperature below 5ºC. To speed up the process, gardeners can dig the roots and place them in the cooler for the required length of time. The roots can then be planted in the greenhouse, and the plants are “tricked” into flowering 2 to 3 months later depending on variety.
Besides adding colour to gardens, astilbes make excellent cut flowers. Flowers should be harvested when the flower spike is somewhat open and the top buds are full and showing good colour. Flowers cut tighter than this will not open properly.
The astilbes we see at our local florists are hybrids with parents of Asian origin.
Astilbe are sensitive to ethylene and should be kept away from ethylene sources like ripening fruit, decaying plant matter and engine exhaust. The cut flower of the Astilbe will wilt readily if not treated with the proper preservative. Upon purchasing, stems should be re-cut and placed in warm water with the proper hydrating solution. Vase life is a minimum of 7 days with proper care and handling.