Louise
Louise
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Asked on Jun 29, 2013

A neighbor bought me an astilbe chinensis "Purple Candles." I need to

Tanya Peterson FelsheimDouglas HuntLouise
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get this into the ground today because the leaves are beginning to look a bit dried out. It's been on my deck for nearly a week. I just gave it a huge drink of water, hoping to help it out. I read online about this plant, but can't find just how to plant it. The plastic thingie that came in the pot with it doesn't say how to do it. I read that one variety should be planted in humus rich soil. I have some potting soil, some perlite, some sphagnum peat moss. Can I use any/all of these to make something suitable? And how deep do I plant it? Descriptions of planting another variety of astilbe said plant the crown of the plant about 2 inches underground. How quickly do these spread? I need to know how much room to leave around it. Online posts said to plant 36-42 inches apart, so I guess that allows for spreading?
a neighbor bought me an astilbe chinensis purple candles i need to, gardening
14 answers
  • Nancy Hand
    on Jun 29, 2013

    It is very pretty Louise! I love Astilbe but can't grow it good. It needs shade/part sun. Early morning sun and afternoon shade. They like water and rich soil. You have a very nice neighbor!! :)

  • Margaret Barclay
    on Jun 30, 2013

    Nothing spreads as fast as we would like it to. Leave some room but remember 99% of plants can be moved so fill in so it looks good right now! When it starts to spread take out the "renters" and give them to another neighbor - paying it forward.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 30, 2013

    Louise, I assume you have clay, so you could mix in some of the peat moss (make sure it is well wetted when you incorporate it) and some perlite and combine them well with your native soil. Whether you are planting this lovely astilbe or any other plant, it is important that you keep the soil level in the pot level with your soil. If you have to err, err on the high side. So dig a wide hole, but not one that is deeper than the pot. I think 36 inches is more than enough for any astilbe I've seen.

  • Louise
    on Jun 30, 2013

    THIRTY-SIX inches????? I hope the poor thing doesn't croak because the hole I dug yesterday is no where near that large. :-( And no, even tho I live in GA, I don't have much clay, especially in my front yard. Over the years, the trees have dropped leaves, pine needles, etc., onto the ground and it's ended up making some pretty decent soil. But that said, I did add some perlite and peat moss to the hole. Fingers crossed. :-)

  • Glenna Kennedy
    on Jun 30, 2013

    I have had 2 astilbe plants for about 8 years now. We have very hard packed soil because it's a new subdivision and the trucks drove non stop through our back yard when they were doing the final landscaping. We have had to 'build' up most gardens so we used a combination of topsoil, potting soil, compost, a little peat moss. The astilbe have not spread very much after 8 years and are less than double the original size. Plant them in a hole the depth of the pot they came in but slightly larger around. I always throw in some bonemeal with any new plants. I have found they like more shade than sun and really hot summers mine don't do well because they get too much sun so if you have a shady area with only morning sun that would be best. They seem hardy and are pretty when they bloom. (I live in Ontario Canada so the winters cant get cold and they survive okay).

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jul 1, 2013

    Louise, I didn't mean the size of the hole you dig, I meant the spacing between plants. I've certainly never dug a 36-inch hole for an astilbe!

  • Louise
    on Jul 1, 2013

    Oh, good!!! I couldn't imagine why such a huge hole would be necessary. I'd never plant anything if that were needed. That's closer to the size I dig for bodies I have to hide. :-)

  • Patty A
    on Jul 1, 2013

    Louise, I put this same astilbe in my zone 5 shady, clay garden 5 yrs ago and it has spread out 5 ft! As long as it doesn't dry out it will be happy.....

  • Louise
    on Jul 12, 2013

    My astilbe had been in the ground since June 29 and has seemed happy enough, has gotten plenty of rain, etc. But I noticed two days ago that the purple is turning brown. Is this just that the flower is going way and this is natural? The leaves don't look especially bad. Will I get more flowers during the summer?

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jul 13, 2013

    Louise, that's how astilbe flowers age, nothing to worry about. There are early, middle and late-blooming varieties of astilbe, so you have to plant a mix to get a longer season of bloom.

  • Louise
    on Jul 13, 2013

    So this one is done for the season? Bummer.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jul 14, 2013

    I'm afraid so. So it goes with perennials.

  • Tanya Peterson Felsheim
    on Jul 14, 2013

    @Louise might be a bummer but you can get some really good prices on perennials at this time of year usually the time I buy them! They are spent this year so far but next year you will enjoy them immensely! @Douglas Hunt haha on the 36 inches

  • Tanya Peterson Felsheim
    on Jul 14, 2013

    Soon my asters will be out and they are GORGEOUS can't wait for them!

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