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Astilbe Straussenfeder 07-03-12Today’s Special is our Astilbe Ostrich Plume. These perennials are growing in 1 inch plug cells for $3.15 each. Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, humusy, organically rich soils. Soils must not be allowed to dry out. If regularly watered, foliage will usually remain attractive throughout the growing season. A summer compost mulch helps retain soil moisture. Removing faded flower stalks will not prolong bloom but may improve plant appearance, particularly if a ground cover look is desired. On the other hand, many gardeners leave the flower stalks in place after bloom because of the continuing ornamental interest of the dried seed heads. Divide clumps when overcrowding occurs (every 3-4 years).

Astilbes are mainstays of shade and woodland gardens. They are clump-forming perennials which feature graceful, fern-like mounds of mostly basal, 2-3 ternately compound leaves, usually with sharply-toothed leaflets, and tiny flowers densely packed into erect to arching, plume-like flower panicles rising above the foliage on slender, upright stems. Astilbe cultivars in the Thunbergii hybrid group in which OSTRICH PLUME belongs are generally tall varieties (to 4′) which bloom late and feature arching, loosely-branched flower panicles and ovate to lance-shaped, 2-ternate leaves. OSTRICH PLUME features a foliage mound (to 20″ tall) of dark green leaves and large, loose, weeping panicles of pink flowers on arching stems typically rising to 2.5-3′ tall in late spring to early summer. Young foliage may be tinged with bronze. Zones 4 to 8.

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