The Q&A Archives: Brown Stunted Plumes On Astilbe

Question: I planted 3 Astilbes in the front garden. I have built an outdoor container 3ft by 10 ft and filled it with Miracle-gro potting soil. The hydrangea is bright pink and the impatiens and large leafed begonias are flourishing. The Astilbe's leaves are large dark green and luxuriant. They are growing well but the plumes for the last 2 years have been brown and stunted, never flowering. They only get late afternoon sun. I have filled all my containers with Miracle-gro as opposed to the other ones I used to use, and am thrilled with it. I won't waste my money on a substitute again. Your product is way superior. Thanks in anticipation.

Answer: Astilbe, commonly called False Spirea, are great in the part shade to full shade. Their fern like foliage and plume flowers make them a wonderful summer perennial. Astilbe need moist rich humus soil away from the afternoon sun. Dividing them every 3 to 5 years will invigorate them. Maintenance is as simple as cutting them back in the late fall. Astilbe are hardy to Zone 4. The plants thrive in full shade but will tolerate morning sun. Try moving yours out of the afternoon sunshine and they'll probably perk right up.

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