When presented with the question, “Do you have anything that will grow in some shade, that isn’t a hosta?” I excitedly tell them all about astilbe! Astilbe thrive in part shade, and make excellent companion plants to wide leaved hostas. They provide soft dark green mounds of lacy foliage and produce strong stems in June and July that hold their panicles of flowers upright above the soft foliage. Astilbe come in a wide range of lovely colors from red to purple, pink to white, and different sizes, but all of them grow best in part shade, with average to rich garden soil.
The Achilles’ Heel of the disease resistant astilbe is lack of water. Regular watering will keep your astilbe looking fabulous all season long. Next time you’re in, be sure to check out my favorite variety, ‘Delft Lace’. It forms a dense clump of deep green foliage with red edges and matures at about 24” tall and wide. The flowers emerge a soft pink from deep pink buds. It’s a beauty!