Often the astilbe is also called the ‘spar’ because of the similarity of its inflorescences to the ‘spirea’. In the botanical name, however, astilbe is the Greek word for ‘shine’. And this is probably the closest thing to the name ‘Prachtspiere’. Astilbes (splendid sparrows) grow and thrive best where otherwise only a few plants feel comfortable. This makes them ideal plants for making those parts of a garden shine and make them interesting where the light conditions of partial shade can become a problem for many plants.


Their height is very variable. It ranges from 15 – 25 cm to the imposing height of 200 cm. The small-stature varieties are very suitable for keeping in pots, for the rock garden or as a ground cover. Thanks to the variety of sizes and colors, you can play wonderfully with the colors and heights of the astilbe when planning your garden. In this way, many darker garden areas can be immersed in a colorful sea of ​​colors of different plant sizes and colors. Because the color spectrum of the flower panicles ranges from white, pink, red to a wonderful purple lilac.

They can stand in one place for a very long time. They develop their full beauty after four to seven years. If the plant is very old and bald in the middle, the rhizome should be cut into fist-sized pieces with a sharp knife. These can then be placed in the well-prepared soil at a distance of approx. 50 cm.

The most striking feature of the astilbe are their elegant, long panicles of flowers. These come into their own thanks to the light and very delicate leaves of the perennial. The color of the leaves is also very variable. In some varieties, they are dark green and shiny. The leaves of other varieties have a bronze sheen. Others, on the other hand, glow reddish, red or light green in spring when they emerge.

And in winter, when hoar frost covers all the plants, the seed heads of the astilbe transform into filigree small and enchanted sculptures. Astilbes enrich our gardens from budding in spring, through flowering in summer, right through to deep winter.

Is the astilbe – splendid sparre – poisonous?

Astilbes are not poisonous. The young and green parts of the astilbe chinesis are even eaten in some areas. The young fruits of the Astilbe longicarpa can be eaten. The young leaves of the Astilbe thunbergii can be eaten cooked, the leaves are used in some places as a tea substitute.


  • Partly to shady cool.
  • If the soil is moist, the sun is also tolerated.
  • Extreme heat is not well tolerated.
  • The soil should be rich in nutrients, moist and loamy-cool (loam binds moisture and nutrients and is therefore ideal).
  • Likes to stand in the swamp bed.

Art and family
Staude. Belongs to the saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae) Low


. Robust, adaptable and easy to care for.

Flowering time

Depending on the variety, June to September with overhanging or upright, feathery flower candles consisting of small flowers in white, pink, red or purple. The flower stalks are upright and have only a few leaves. The inflorescences turn brown in autumn and also decorate the garden in winter.

hand, oblong, pointed forward, serrated and farnähnlich are the dark-green leaves, which are partially coated with a bronze sheen. The plants sprout late.

The growth is upright, bushy and clumpy. Some species grow ground covering. Beautiful reddish to red shoots.

Height / width
Depending on the type and variety, 15 to 200 cm high, 30 to 90 cm wide

Annual / Perennial
Astilben are perennial plants.

Frost hardiness
astilbe are frost hardy in our latitudes and well suited for gardening.

Planting time
spring or autumn.

Planting distance
40 – 60 cm, dwarf varieties 20 – 25 cm

In spring, cut close to the ground.

Preplanting or underplanting
Ferns, bluebells, anemones, rhododendrons, funkias, ornamental grasses, silver candles, purple bells, Caucasus forget-me-nots, Japanese primrose and various other low-growing shade perennials.


Astilbe can be propagated by dividing the rhizome at the end of winter in the resting phase.
Carefully dig up the plant and divide it with a sharp knife or spade.

Disinfect damaged roots with charcoal powder or sulfur blossom (both are available from the pharmacy) and then leave to dry for a few hours. This avoids putrefaction when the plant is planted.
It is not easy to multiply. Often the plants die because the substrate was too wet.


  • Astilbe need a well drained and humus soil (acid soil)
  • They prefer fresh, moist potting soil that is sufficiently mixed with peat and compost.
  • Depending on the location and temperature, the plants should be watered regularly.
  • Astilbe thrive particularly well at higher humidity and in partial shade.
  • Apply compost, slow release fertilizer or organic fertilizer in April. This gives the plant its strength and its ability to flower
  • All astilbe species need to be watered well when it is dry
  • The soil of the site should never dry out
  • Use only rainwater if possible. Splendid spars are extremely sensitive to lime
  • The plants should be watered a lot in early summer. This guarantees a lush flowering.
  • A light mulch blanket made from lawn clippings or chopped up garden waste keeps the earth around the splendid spars moist and weeds away.
  • The root ball lifts out of the ground over the years. Then cover the root area of ​​the plant with compost in autumn. This keeps the plants blooming, keeps the soil moist and at the same time supplies the plants with the necessary nutrients.
  • Astilbe die in autumn. However, they should remain in place as winter protection. Cover the root area, e.g. with fir branches.
  • Despite the variety of varieties, astilbe are easy to care for and robust. Pests and diseases are hardly a threat.
  • The plant can be divided every 3 – 4 years in spring. This ensures growth.
  • After propagation, young plants are susceptible to night frosts.
  • Avoid waterlogging, as the plant is otherwise susceptible to powdery mildew.


  • Astilbes are hardy
  • They do not tolerate waterlogging at all in winter
  • In very rough areas, the plants should be protected with brushwood
  • Never completely cover with leaves or mulch. The plant rots beneath it
  • Container plants can remain outside with protection or be wintered frost-free, dark or light inside

Astilbe diseases and pests

Problems – diseases and pests

  • Curling of the leaves: is usually a sign of excessive dryness and heat; the plant takes care of shallow-rooted trees and bushes due to lack of water; the irrigation water is too calcareous – astilbe cannot tolerate calcareous water.

Types (selection)

There are at least 46 species of splendid sparrows (astilbe). The most popular types include the:

  • Arends splendor spar and the garden astilbe (Astilbe x arendsii). They are the best known and the most popular types. They offer the greatest variety of varieties. Height: 60-120 cm. Width: 40 – 75 cm. Flowering period: July to September in the colors red, white or pink. They tolerate a little more sun than the other species, but prefer the light shade of trees.
  • The China astilbe needs a partially shaded, cool location. This species does not tolerate full sun. Height: 50 – 80 cm. Flowering period: July to September.
  • The large splendor spar has beautiful, loose flower panicles in white or pink. Height: 80 – 120 cm. Flowering period: July to August.
  • The Japan astilbe. It is a forest shrub and loves partially shaded locations and high humidity (e.g. pond edges). It blooms earlier than the other astilbe species. Flowering period: June to July.
  • The carpet astilbe, also dwarf astilbe, forms runners through its creeping rhizome and forms dense, flat carpets with conspicuously slender flower candles in purple, pink, pink or red. Height: 20 – 35 cm. Width: 90 cm. Flowering period: August to September.
  • The young leaves of Astilbe chinensis var. Davidii, syn. Astilbe davidii are covered in bronze. Their slender panicles of flowers show close-fitting flowers. Height: 180 – 200 cm.
  • The Astilbe chinensis var. Taquetti is the wild form. It blooms in colors from lavender to pink.
  • The astilbe simplicifolia comes from Japan. It is smaller and more delicate than most related species. Their flower panicles are slightly arched and overhanging. It blooms in white, red or pink. Flowering period: July.

Planting time
autumn or spring. It is better to divide the rhizome in spring. When replanting, give 50 to 100 g of complete fertilizer per square meter.

Astilben can also be combined well with other plants. Rhododendrons, azaleas, and ferns are plants with similar needs that make good partners. They are particularly effective in the company of funkias, columbines or monkshood, which provide blue tones as a contrast to white and pink.

Caucasus forget-me-nots, Japanese primroses, purple bells and other low perennials are suitable as pre- or underplanting.


  • The wild form of the astilbe is called splendid spar. She is from Japan.
  • In the wild, it still grows in damp forests and on streams in East Asia.
  • The astilbe is a durable and decorative cut flower.
  • Only cut when the lower third of the panicles has opened. Otherwise it will not last long in the vase. Thanks to the scarcely leafy flower stalks, a cut does not weaken the plant.
  • Mash the stem ends a little and change the water daily, then the astilbe will last longer in the vase.
  • Divide the perennials of the astilbe about every 3 to 4 years, especially when the flowering is slow. Do not plant old and lignified rhizomes any more.
  • Snails do not like astilbe, they keep their distance.
  • Astilbes belong in every border with wild perennials and in every cottage garden.
  • It can be grown well in planters.
  • A valuable insect pasture.

Astilbe thrive best on moist, humus rich soils and in partial shade. If the supply of even moisture is ensured, you can also feel comfortable in sunnier places. The flowering of the first astilbe varieties begins as early as June and July. Other varieties don’t start flowering until August-September. So if you pay attention to the flowering times of the different varieties, you can bring a variety of colors to light-poor areas of the garden from June to September with a corresponding selection of varieties. Astilbes go well with all plants with natural charm in combination. They look particularly beautiful in group planting. Its pastel-colored flowers look particularly intense in front of dark trees. Especially the darker parts of a garden are turned into a lively, colorful stage of a firework of colors through astilbe.

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