Tell me about Astilboides tabularis.

chloeashaFebruary 5, 2013

I've done some poking around on the site and read online. I can't quite determine if it's heat and humidity tolerant. Our summers are very hot and humid. Also what kind of root system does this guy have-- I'm wondering what size container it would need to be container grown 9or if that is always just going to cause it issues so it's not worth bothering). Finally, about how long before it starts making large leaves? Thanks!

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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I love this plant - but have no idea how it would do in your zone. Heritage Perennials lists it as zone 3-9 so it should grow there. But it needs LOTS of water so would likely prefer a shaded spot near water in your area. Do you have conditions that would suit? The ones that grow best for me are at the base of downspouts from the roof eavestroughs. I have another one sited where the ground is moist in spring but dries out later. That one struggles and is very small compared to the others. Water is definitely necessary for them to be happy!

As a container plant it might be hard to keep it adequately watered. I've only grown them in the ground. They haven't spread very much, probably because the available water is limited to the area immediately around the end of the downspout. I'm not sure what they'd do with, say, unlimited water by the side of a pond or stream....

The big leaves come pretty fast. Mine were pretty big by the end of the first season in the garden. I usually end up cutting off the flowers as they aren't as interesting as the leaves and they tend to fall over.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heritage Perennials info

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:12PM
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Hi woodyoak. I have a third floor balcony-- in ground isn't particularly an option. It is north-facing and recessed though, so sun is also not going to be a problem. I control the watering of my plants since they are not open to rain really.

I'm really attracted to the large leaves, but then I am not sure if it is worth the risk of trying it. I've ordered a large-leaved shrub begonia-- but this looked like it would be just so much fun in front of my gingers. :)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:05PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

The Heritage info does list it for containers - I usually find their information reliable. If you want big leaves in a pot and don't mind the watering, you could grow elephant ears - they do well in pots for me. Wet soil is heavy though so you should check to see if there is a weight restriction on what you can place on the balcony!

A pot of elephant ears:

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:27PM
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Thanks! I checked the weight restrictions a few years ago when I stared my garden. I should be fine. I liked the astilboides because of the leaf shape as opposed to the elephant ears-- although had thought of them as well. I am very partial to that nasturtium shape. :)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:47AM
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It's really a Rodgersia, but the taxonomists got bored.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:19AM
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While they definitely need lots of water...they aren't as prone to crisping up as Rodgersias least for me. I'd definitely put them in shade and water generously until you get a feel for how they like it in your conditions. I've had mine for 2 years...and the leaves aren't huge yet...about the size of dinner plates last year. Still...the shape is really nice. The biggest problem I've had with them is protecting them from slugs when they are emerging.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:24PM
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OK, thanks! I don't get much in the way of slugs on the third floor, but they are still there. They haven't eaten anything I have yet. Not sure what they are eating!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:31AM
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