Astilbe also goes by the name False Spiraea and Meadow sweet. The most commonly distributed being A. Arendsii. They are a carefree, pest resistant, shade tolerant perennial plant with lovely, lacy leaves (say that three times fast) and feather-like flower clusters. I say shade tolerant but in cool summer places they do fine in part to full sun if provided with enough water. They range in height from two feet to four.
They come in pinks, reds, whites and I recently acquired a lavender colored one, “Amethyst”. A late summer bloomer three to four feet high Amethyst has a pretty lavender plume mixing well in my shade garden with Hosta, Helleborus and Columbine.
“Deutschland” is an early white bloomer standing one and a half feet tall. “Peach blossom” is two feet tall with darling light salmon pink flower clusters. For a bright red flower and bronze colored leaves choose “Fanal”. “Ostrich Plume”, standing three and a half feet tall, has drooping pink blooms in mid to late season.
Astilbe prefers moist, humus-rich soil like that found in the forest. Leaf mold does wonders for this plant. They will flourish under dappled shade trees and look great inter-planted with Bleeding Hearts, Meadow Rue and Bergenia. They like to be divided every four to five years. Astilbe make wonderful dried flower arrangements. Do I recommend them? Heck, yeah! But then there’s rarely a plant I don’t recommend. All these mentioned will charm the garden gloves off you.