Everything You Need to Know About Astilbe Flower Meaning, Symbolism, Types, and Growing Tips

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. Gardeners find Astilbe flowers easy to care for and once established, they will bloom each year. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Astilbe flower meaning, their botanical characteristics, popular types, and growing tips at home.


Astilbe Flowers – The Essentials

There are 25 species of Astilbe, each with their 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.

The name Astilbe is derived from the Greek word ‘a’ meaning without and ‘stilbe’ which means brilliance.  Expect these plants to grow from 6 inches to 2 feet tall and have a spread from 6 inches to 5 feet, depending on the species.


About Astilbe

About Astilbe

Astilbe – Family, Genus, and Taxonomy

Kingdom:Plantae (Plants)
Subkingdom:Tracheobionta (Vascular plants)
Division:Magnoliophyta (Flowering plants)
Class:Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)
Subclass:Rosidea
Order:Rosales
Family:Saxifracagae
Genus:Astilbe

Botanical Characteristics, Colors, Fragrances, and Toxicity

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.

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

  • ‘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.

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.

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.


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.


Astilbe Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Astilbe Flower Meaning and Symbolism

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

Common Astilbe Flower Colors and Their Meaning and Symbolism

  • White: Innocence, purity, sympathy
  • Pink: A mother’s love, gentleness, femininity, innocence, unconditional love
  • Red: Deep love, passion, desire, courage, respect, admiration
  • Lavender/Violet: elegance, grace, refinement, femininity
  • Peach: Joy, happiness, excitement, enthusiasm

The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Astilbe Flowers

Many flowers hold a specific meaning. The meaning of Astilbe is not as prevalent as other flowers, but it is known to be a sign of dedication and patience to a loved one.

This flower could be gifted as a promise to wait for a loved one who is going away. It symbolizes this dedication because of its long lifetime.

It is also a hardy flower, which can symbolize the strength of love. This meaning makes it an excellent choice for being part of a wedding bouquet. The variety of colors and feathery appearance make it a beautiful accent.

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Astilbe Flowers

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Astilbe Flowers

The Astilbe flower makes a lovely gift for a loved one. Bit a romantic or thank your gesture, they mix well in numerous seasonal flower bouquets and floral arrangements. 


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. 


Wrap Up

Astilbe flowers are beautiful additions to any garden. Care for them properly, and you will have beautiful blooms for years to come.


Astilbe Flowers FAQ

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?

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?

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.


Petal Republic’s flower and plant guides:

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We are a floristry, plant, and lifestyle city resource curated by a passionate team of horticulturists, floral & plant enthusiasts, budding designers, and intrepid urban gardeners. We're committed to showcasing the best in floral and plant design, sharing our experience and recommendations on the best blooms and greenery for every occasion, season, and living environment, and spreading our love of the enchanting world of flowers and plants.

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