Astilbe

prairie_love(z3/4 ND)August 6, 2011

The first astilbes I grew did not impress me. There were varieties such as Fanal and Deutschland. I felt they were poor growers (for me), their blooms were unspectacular, and the bloom time was very short. I was ready to give up on astilbes completely (and in fact, the Fanal have all disappeared from the garden - apparently they gave up on me as well) but then I planted a couple Vision. I'm actually not sure whether they are Visions in Pink or Visions in Red or simply Visions (is there such a variety?). Seems it would be easy to tell pink from red but googled photos show a huge range of color. Anyway, I have been VERY happy with these astilbes. They are more robust plants, the blooms are prettier and the blooms last much longer.

So now I want to add more astilbe. My quesion is whether all astilbe chinensis would behave similarly or if I should stay with the Visions series?

Does anyone have recommendation for sources of different chinensis or for the various Visions?

This photo is from two years ago so the plant has grown since then, but can any of you tell which Visions it is?

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wieslaw59

All chinensis I know have a running habit. If you can't provide constant moisture for Astilbes, don't bother with them. I got rid of mine without crying.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 6:14AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Astilbe chinensis var. taquetii 'Purple Lance' is a great plant if you can work with the color. It blooms late (mine just finished), it's tall (about 3 feet in bloom), is very drought tolerant and does not like full shade. I think a lot of people in the North think of astilbe as shade plants, but they don't do well when grown that way. It's also very vigorous, so it can be divided often to increase stock if you want to. The only negative for this plant would be the flower stalks bend over in high wind or heavy rain because they are so dense with blooms.

Kevin

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 12:36PM
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prairie_love(z3/4 ND)

Thank you Kevin. I googled Purple Lance and if the photos are true to life this color would work well in the area I am considering. I will look for a source for it. The area also does get some sun, maybe about 2-3 hours, and is fairly protected so hopefully the winds won't be an issue!

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 10:15AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Here's a photo of Purple Lance in my garden. I would describe the color as kind of a pink/purple, but definitely more on the purple side.

Another nice one and also a heavy bloomer is Astilbe x arendsii 'Glut'. The color is a pretty intense, ruby red, but it blooms much earlier. It's not as vigorous as Purple Lance, but is still a keeper.

The last couple of years, I've been paying more attention to which Astible do well for me. I have to agree with your original post that not all of these are created equal. I have a few no matter where I move them, they just don't perform the way I want them to. Others like Purple Lance do well no matter what. In my experience at least the white varieties are the worst - sparse blooms, not all that vigorous, not sure why I keep them. Maybe I just have the wrong varieties.

Kevin

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 11:40AM
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prairie_love(z3/4 ND)

That Purple Lance is beautiful!

AS for whites, I saw there is a Visions in White, I'm considering trying it simply because my Visions do so well.

I would be nervous about "Glut" because the "Fanal" I lost was also an Astilbe x arendsii ... but you think it is more varietal specific and not species specific?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:07PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I'm not sure about Glut and the varietal vs. species specific debate. All I can say is I have other arendsii hybrids and none of them do as well as Glut. Glut also keeps it's color a long time.

I have to check out those Visions. I need a good white.

Kevin

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:26PM
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