Astilbe flowers are bright and beautiful. They are an excellent choice for a focal point in your summer flower bed that remains partly shady during the day. These plants have tall, fluffy plumes that rise up to five feet in height depending on the variety. In this guide, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about Astilbe flower meaning and symbolism, their uses and benefits, and cultural significance around the world.

Astilbe Flower Meaning, Types, and Growing Tips

Astilbe Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Astilbe Flower Meaning and Symbolism

In the language of flowers, Astilbe carries a range of symbolic meanings. Traditionally, Astilbe flowers are associated with the meaning of patience. The delicate and graceful nature of these flowers is said to represent the virtue of waiting with endurance and maintaining a calm demeanour.

In addition, Astilbe flowers are strongly associated with feelings of serenity. Their feathery plumes and soft, pastel colors convey tranquility and peacefulness, making them a perfect choice to convey a sense of calmness and inner peace.

Astilbe flowers can be associated with understanding and empathy. The flower’s gentle appearance and elegant presence are thought to represent the ability to comprehend and appreciate others’ emotions and perspectives.

In some cultures, Astilbe flowers are also connected with gratitude. Their blossoms are often seen as an expression of appreciation and thankfulness, making them a suitable choice for conveying heartfelt gratitude and recognition.

Common Astilbe Flower Colors and Their Meaning and Symbolism

With Astilbe flowers coming in many colors, it’s easy to convey a meaning or symbolism.

  • White: White astilbe flowers often symbolize purity, innocence, and spirituality. They can also represent sincerity and convey a sense of elegance and grace.
  • Pink: Pink astilbe flowers are commonly associated with Motherly love, romance, love, and femininity. They can convey messages of affection, admiration, and gratitude.
  • Red: Red astilbe flowers are vibrant and energetic, symbolizing passion, desire, and intense emotions. They can be used to express strong love or deep admiration.
  • Lavender/Violet: Lavender astilbe flowers symbolize grace, refinement, and serenity. They can convey a sense of calmness and tranquility and are often associated with feminine beauty.
  • Peach: Peach or coral astilbe flowers are associated with friendship, gratitude, and sociability. They can be given as a gesture of appreciation or to celebrate a close bond.

Etymological Meaning

Coming from the Greek language, the word Astilbe starts with ‘a’ meaning without and ‘stilbe’ meaning brilliance. This may be attributed to the fact that this plant has many inconspicuous small flowers.

Uses and Benefits of Astilbe Flowers

Uses and Benefits of Astilbe Flowers

Some species, particularly Astilbe rivularis, are used in traditional medicine. It can be used to treat inflammation, headache, bleeding during childbirth, chronic bronchitis, and cancer.

The leaves of Astilbe are used as a tea in Asia and some species do include a fruiting part that is eaten fresh.

Astilbe flowers are great to have in your garden to attract moths, flower flies, butterflies, and bees. By choosing plants that attract pollinators, you can help your entire garden thrive.

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Astilbe Flowers

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Astilbe Flowers

Astilbe flowers are suitable for a range of gifting occasions due to their delicate beauty and meaningful symbolism. Be it a birthday celebration, anniversary, or graduation, astilbe can convey sentiments of love, appreciation, and serenity.

The soft colors and graceful appearance make them a thoughtful choice to express gratitude or bring comfort to someone who is unwell.

Additionally, astilbe can be a charming gift for housewarmings, adding an elegant touch to a new home and creating a peaceful atmosphere.

About Astilbe

About Astilbe
Kingdom:Plantae (Plants)
Subkingdom:Tracheobionta (Vascular plants)
Division:Magnoliophyta (Flowering plants)
Class:Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)

Botanical Characteristics, Colors, Fragrances, and Toxicity

There are 25 species of Astilbe, each with its own unique botanical characteristics. Many hybrids are also available. Native to Asia and North America these flowers can be found in ravines and woodlands. The most common type found in gardens is Chinese astilbe.

In addition to Astilbe, common names include false spirea or false goat’s beard. Bloom time is spring to summer and these plants can be found in USDA hardiness zones three through eight.

This perennial flower grows in a variety of colors. The flower stalks grow tall above the leaves, with fern-like clusters of densely packed flowers. Astilbe plants come in many sizes, depending on the variety.

You’ll find astilbe flowers in many beautiful hues, most of which are pastel colors. These include peach, white, pink, and lavender. Red and dark purple flowers can also be found.

Most of these flowers are not fragrant, but a few do have a pleasant aroma. They are also not considered to be toxic to pets. This makes Astilbe a good choice for dog owners.

For more, see our in-depth guide to popular flowers that are toxic to cats, dogs, and other pets.

Popular Astilbe Flower Types, Species, and Cultivars

With many types of astilbe flowers, it may be difficult to choose the best one for your garden. Here is a look at some of the most popular varieties.

Dwarf Varieties

Making nice border plants, dwarf varieties only grow to 1.5 to 2 feet in height. Some popular cultivars include:

  • ‘Sprite’ (A. simplicifolia) with a charismatic pink color and bronze foliage.
  • ‘Hennie Graafland’ (A. simplicifolia) with bright pink flowers and deep green foliage.
  • Pumila‘ (A. chinensis var. pumila) with purple flowers.
  • ‘Visions’ (A chinensis var. visions) with dark mauve flowers.

Medium Plants

  • ‘Delft Lace’ (A. chinensis): This plant has pink blossoms on red stems with a lacy blue-green foliage. It grows to three feet tall and nearly two feet wide.
  • ‘Chocolate Shogun’ (A. thunbergii): With dark foliage and pink flower spikes, this plant grows to 24 inches tall and 18 inches wide.
  • ‘Bridal Veil’ (A. x arendsii): A German hybrid, this Astilbe has a glossy green foliage and creamy white flowers. It rises to 30 inches tall and 18 inches wide.
  • ‘Fanal’ (A.x arendsii): Featuring deep red flowers and leaves that change color with the season, this plant grows to 24 inches tall and 12 inches wide.

Larger types

  • ‘Purple Candles’ (A. chinensis var. purple candles) This plant can reach heights of three to four feet and features lovely purple flowers.
  • ‘Superba’ (. chinensis var. tarquetti) One of the tallest Astilbe varieties, expect the ‘Superba’ to grow as tall as four to five feet. The flowers are a lovely purple-rose color.

What Regions are Astilbe Flowers Native To?

What Regions are Astilbe Flowers Native To?

Native to Asia and North America, the Astilbe flower requires moist soil. Therefore, it is most often found in woodlands and ravines.

When are Astilbe Flowers in Season?

Different types of Astilbe flowers bloom at different times. The most common months are May and June.

There are varieties that don’t begin flowering until late summer. Many gardeners will plant different varieties so that they can enjoy the lovely blooms throughout the late spring and summer.

How to Grow and Care for Astilbe Flowers at Home

How to Grow and Care for Astilbe Flowers at Home

Astilbe flowers are easy to care for. Just follow the below guidelines to create a blast of color in your garden.

What Growing Zones are Suitable for Astilbe Flowers?

Astilbe flowers can be grown in hardiness zones three through nine.

Where Should I Plant Astilbe Flowers?

Astilbe flowers prefer light to moderate shade. If planted in full sun, the plant will burn.

It’s easiest to plant divisions rather than seeds to obtain large, healthy plants.

Soil, Light, Watering, and Fertilizing Considerations

An area that receives morning sun and afternoon shade are ideal for Astilbe flowers. They need rich, organic soil that drains well and is slightly acidic.

Add compost to the soil, especially if it is rocky or poor. Water well when first planting and then keep the soil consistently moist.

It is a good practice to amend the soil occasionally with compost or using fertilizer. A fertilizer that is organic and high in phosphorous is recommended.

Leave the plumes alone for winter interest and cut back in the spring. Divide these plants every for years or so, as needed.

How to Care for Fresh Cut Astilbe Flowers

How to Care for Fresh Cut Astilbe Flowers

It is best practice to check that your flowers have enough water every day. Re-cut the stems every few days for maximum absorption.

At the same time, replace the water and add more fresh flower food. Display your flowers in a cool spot away from ripe fruit and bright direct sunlight. 

10 Fun Facts About Astilbe

  1. The Astilbe plant is native to East Asia, particularly China, Japan, and Korea. It was introduced to Europe and North America in the 19th century.
  2. Astilbe is often referred to as “false spirea” due to its plume-like flower clusters that resemble those of the spirea shrub.
  3. Astilbe flowers come in a range of colors, including white, pink, red, lavender, and peach. There are also varieties with bi-colored or multicolored blooms.
  4. Astilbe is known for its ability to thrive in shady areas, making it a popular choice for shade gardens and woodland landscapes.
  5. The unique feature of astilbe flowers is their feathery plumes that rise above the foliage, creating a soft and airy appearance.
  6. Astilbe is generally considered deer-resistant, meaning it is less likely to be damaged by deer browsing or grazing in gardens.
  7. Despite its delicate appearance, astilbe flowers are nectar-rich and attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to the garden.
  8. Astilbe is a herbaceous perennial, meaning it dies back to the ground in winter and regrows from the roots each spring.
  9. Astilbe thrives in moist soil conditions and is often found near streams, ponds, or in boggy areas.
  10. Astilbe flowers are a popular choice for floral arrangements and bouquets due to their rich meaning and symbolism, feathery texture, long-lasting blooms, and attractive colors.

Astilbe Flowers FAQs:

Do astilbe come back every year?

Astilbe flowers are considered hardy perennials and will come back year after year blooming from the late spring months.

How long do astilbe flowers last?

Typically, Astilbe flower foliage will bloom through much of the late spring and summer season filling shady spots in your garden with a great variety of color.

How much sun can astilbe take?

For optimal blooms, Astilbe flowers prefer partial shade cover where possible. They love moist, damp conditions so avoid full exposure to the sun’s rays which can cause the ground to dry faster.

Do astilbe bloom more than once?

The botanical characteristics of Astilbe flowers means that their vast plumes flower over an extended period. Technically they won’t bloom more than once but the nature of the plant means you’ll get to witness a colorful spectacle over an extended season each year.

Should astilbe be cut back after blooming?

Whilst not essential, and it won’t promote new flower growth during a particular season, you can cut back spent Astilbe foliage at the end of the growing season ahead of the winter months in preparation for next years growth.

What is the overall meaning of astilbe flowers?

Astilbe flowers are commonly associated with the meanings of patience, serenity, understanding, and gratitude. They symbolize endurance, tranquility, and an appreciation for others.

Can astilbe flowers be used to convey romantic love?

While astilbe flowers are not traditionally associated with romantic love like roses, they can still be given in a romantic context to express sentiments of admiration, appreciation, or a calm and peaceful love.

Astilbe Flower Meaning – Wrapping Up

Astilbe flowers are beautiful additions to any garden. In addition, astilbe flowers hold a range of symbolic meanings, including patience, serenity, understanding, and gratitude. These delicate blooms convey a sense of endurance, tranquility, and appreciation for others. Whether given for birthdays, anniversaries, or as expressions of thanks, astilbe flowers bring a touch of grace and convey messages of calmness and appreciation.

Petal Republic’s flower and plant guides:

Looking for a particular stem or in need of some inspiration on the best blooms for a certain occasion? Check out Petal Republic’s expert flower guides to Roses, Acanthus, Ranunculus, Lilies, Irises, Borage, Clovers, Freesia, Anemone, Begonia, Orchids, Allium, Carnations, Coreopsis, Gerbera Daisies, Gladiolus, and Peonies.  

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Editorial Director | Full Bio | + posts

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

Author Andrew Gaumond

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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