Astilbe Foliage Problems - Knowledgebase Question

Mariposa, CA
Question by hawksrdg
July 27, 1999
I have two astilbe plants in my shade garden. Both get filtered sun in the morning hours. They are two years old and both years have done the same thing - after a nice flush of growth and bloom (which I deadhead) the foliage turns "crispy" brown around the edges and dies back. New foliage appears shortly from the center of the clump. What is the problem? Last year I dug them up in the fall and put them in big pots, thinking that they simply did not like the soil acidity or something. In the pots this year, they bloomed lovely and then the same foliage problem.

Thanks for having this great Q & A feature on your website! I've been a Burpee customer for years.


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Answer from NGA
July 27, 1999

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Astilbe performs best in partial to full shade, in evenly moist, rich, organic, well-drained soils, but is somewhat tolerant of more harsh conditions as long as sufficient moisture is provided during the dry periods of summer. It is
propagated primarily by crown division, but also by seeds or tissue culture. Astilbe is a member of the Saxifrage Family, with no significant disease or pest problems, but is subject to wilting and dieback of the attractive foliage during hot, dry summer weather. You can avoid this dieback by providing regular summer irrigation. Astilbe's will adapt to growing in slightly acidic soil, so that should not present a problem. Try giving your plants plenty of water during the hottest months of the year.

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