The Astilbe is a genus from the Saxifragaceae family and is native to parts of Asia. Common names for Astilbe are false goat’s beard and false spirea.
The Astilbe is perennial and available in different heights and with flowers plumes in white, pink, red and lilac. The leaves are also different per variety. They are perfect plants for a shaded, damp spot where they excel with their fluffy flower plumes.
The flower plumes are excellent for cutting. Removing the flower plumes will not promote continued flowering. The Astilbe does not need full sun to produce flowers, but a bit of sunlight will help produce larger flowers plumes.
Astilbes prefer moist, well-drained soil that is humus rich and neutral to acidic. In chalky soils the leaves may turn yellow (chlorosis). If the soil is moist enough false goat’s beards tolerate more sun. In full sun the bloom is shorter than in part shade or shade. False goat’s beards are perfect for along the waterside and in bogy locations as long as their feet are not constantly in the water.
The Astilbe forms a clump that gradually spreads. Over time the crown rises above the soil and growth may become less vigorous. You can dig up the clump, divide it and replant the divisions. It is best to do this in early spring or in the autumn.
The Astilbe dies to the ground in the winter. It is best if you cut the dead stems in early spring to make room for the new growth.
The Astilbe ‘Younique White’ is bred by the Dutch hybridizer Jan Verschoor. This Astilbe forms a low mound of dark green foliage which makes it a perfect ground cover. On top of that it produces large, white, sturdy flower plumes that rise above the foliage.
The leaves grow to about 30 cm (12 inches) in height and the flower plumes rise above them with a height of about 60 cm (24 inches). The flower plumes appear in the beginning of June but remain green until the little buds open towards the end of June. The plumes stay white for about two weeks and then turn green again.
It took about two years before this false goat’s beard started to grow a bit. Other false goat’s beards grow a lot easier. Even after two years there where not many flower plumes. The Astilbe ‘Younique White’ in the photographs is positioned in quite a shady and moist spot. Maybe in a spot with more sun it produces more flower plumes. I read that the flowers should be fragrant, but mine where not.
Attracts bees: no
Characteristic: newly emerging every year
Exposure: part shade/shade
Flower colour: white
Flowering time: June - July
Foliage colour: green
Fragrant flower: no
Hardiness: -30 ºC (-22 ºF)
Height: 30 cm (12 inches)