Star umbels belong to the umbelliferae family and impress with their pinnate, star-shaped leaves, but above all with their unmistakable, elegant flowers. If these are cut off after they have faded, the star umbels will in most cases bloom a second time. It usually takes 2-3 years for this plant to develop its full splendor. At first glance, the star umbel looks rather inconspicuous among other plants, but on closer inspection, the whole beauty of this perennial reveals itself, in which even the seed heads are very attractive. Thanks to the different flowering times of the individual species, it impresses with its attractive flowers from spring to late autumn.


Star umbels prefer locations in partial or light shade. In areas that are too shady, the bloom suffers and is usually much less. Full sun locations should be avoided if possible. If the soil has good water retention capacity, a little more sun is tolerated.

The star umbel feels most comfortable on nutrient-rich, humus-rich, moist and calcareous soils. In sandy soils, it makes sense to incorporate bentonite. This rock consists of different clay minerals that can improve both the water and nutrient storage capacity of the soil.

Watering and fertilizing

  • This perennial always needs slightly moist soil.
  • The sunnier the location, the more intensively the soil needs to be watered.
  • However, it should only be poured again when the top soil layer has dried off slightly.
  • Waterlogging should be avoided in any case.
  • At best, the star umbel should be supplied with plenty of compost.
  • Mineral fertilizers, on the other hand, do not do this plant so well.
  • It is an advantage to leave fallen leaves on the ground.
  • In this way, necessary nutrients are supplied to the soil or the star umbel.

To cut

A pruning is possible both in spring and after flowering. If you want to avoid spilling the star umbels, you should cut them back after flowering. In contrast to this, a cut can also extend the flowering period. To do this, it makes sense to cut out part of the first budding stems. In most cases, it is also sufficient to regularly remove withered flowers. If the plant has completely faded, it can be cut close to the ground or hand-high.


Under optimal conditions the star umbels self- seed themselves very well. If self-sowing is allowed, they develop into particularly effective stands. You can of course sow them from February to July.

For sowing, a suitable substrate, for example a peat-sand mixture, is placed in appropriate seed trays. The surface of the substrate is then leveled and pressed lightly. The seeds are then distributed evenly. Now the whole thing is put in a place at a temperature of 18-22 degrees for about 2-4 weeks.

After these warm temperatures, the seeds are exposed to the cold for 4-6 weeks, at temperatures between minus 4 and plus 4 degrees. This is necessary in order to lift the inhibition of germination and to support germination, because the seeds of the star umbels are cold germs and must therefore be stratified, ie subjected to a cold treatment. If the temperatures are not cold enough, the cold treatment may have to be extended.

However, the sowing container can remain outside until spring, until the seeds germinate naturally. It is definitely beneficial if, for example, there is snow on the seed pot, because that also promotes germination. After germination, temperatures between 5 and 12 degrees are required.

The star umbel Astrantia can also be multiplied by division. The best time for this is in spring at the start of budding. For this purpose, the plant in question is dug up, divided and the newly obtained plants are planted separately from each other at their final location at a distance of 30-45 cm.


Since all types of star cones are hardy from – 17.8 to – 23.3 degrees, they should not be taken into account when they are overwintered. Winter protection can be completely dispensed with.


are relatively insensitive to diseases and pests. However, these plants and their roots are very popular with voles. To protect against these unpleasant rodents, it makes sense to insert the star umbels in a correspondingly close-meshed wire basket or wire mesh in the ground when they are planted.

The star umbel is relatively seldom affected by snail damage, but it does happen in spite of everything. If a snail infestation is found, it is advisable to place commercially available slug pellets in the area around the plants in question. One should prefer organic slug pellets as much as possible.


The flowers of the star umbels are either male or hermaphrodite and only very rarely female. The many small individual flowers are surrounded by conspicuous, star-shaped bracts and arranged in simple umbels on the branched stems. Both the hermaphrodite and the male, possibly also the female, flowers are in an umbel, the male having a longer stalk than the hermaphrodite.

When open, the flower heads, which resemble a pin cushion in their center, are about 3-5 cm in size, depending on the species. From May to August / September they shine in white, pink or red to white-green colors. The colors white, red and pink can be found in the respective variety names as ‘Alba’, ‘Rosea’ and ‘Rubera’. The flowering times can vary somewhat depending on the region and weather conditions.

Particularly beautiful varieties

  • Astrantia carniolica – Carinthian Sterndolde – The native wild perennial Astrantia carniolica impresses with its brilliant white flower heads that appear from July to August and reach heights of between 40 and 60 cm. In winter it tolerates temperatures from -17.8 to -23.3 degrees. This perennial is particularly effective in rose or so-called cottage gardens.
  • Astrantia major – Large star umbels – This elegant flowering plant produces delicate, whitish-green-pink flower umbels from June to July and possibly in September. The bracts can be pure white, greenish white or pinkish red. It becomes between 50 and 70 cm high and is also hardy from – 17.8 to – 23.3 degrees. It is particularly suitable for natural areas in the garden.
  • Astrantia major ‘Dark Shiny Eyes’ – Red star umbels – The pin-like center of this astrantia species is bright silver-white and surrounded by radiant, ruby-red bracts. These appear in June / July and, after pruning, again in autumn. It shows the same winter hardiness as the two species already mentioned and reaches a height of between 50 and 60 cm. It is well suited for near-natural plantings but also as a companion plant to roses or grasses.
  • Astrantia major ‘Star of Billion’ – White star umbel – This white star umbel is a particularly unusual variety that grows about 75 cm high. With its beautiful, small veil flowers that appear in June / July and September, it is one of the most beautiful, light-colored varieties of this plant. Their colors range from pure white and silvery through pink to a greenish color. In addition, the petals have a green pattern. Their particularly deeply lobed leaves also differ significantly from those of other varieties. In near-natural areas, a so-called cottage garden, but also as a companion plant to grasses, this star umbel is a real gem.
  • Astrantia major ‚Sunningdale Variegated‘ – Gelbbunte Sterndolde –The ‘Sunningdale Variegated’ is also a real eye-catcher in the garden with both its flowers and leaves. The white-pink flowers appear from June to September. The strikingly cream-colored and green patterned leaves are palmate and tapering at their ends. Even if the flowers have already withered, this perennial still impresses with its foliage, which turns yellowish-brown in autumn. This perennial grows thick and bushy and reaches a height of up to 80 cm. This makes it particularly suitable for planting in gaps or planting on the edge of the wood. In combination with ferns, globeflowers or anemones, for example, impressive accents can be set. Plants of this kind, which are created by self-sowing, often do not have these leaf drawings.
  • Astrantia major ‘Venice’ – Red star umbels – Of the numerous red and reddish varieties of star umbels, Astrantia major ‘Venice’ is the most intensely colored. The ruby ​​red, about 5 cm large flowers can be combined very well with roses, but the soil must not be too dry. Flowering time is from June to July and after removing the dead flowers, possibly a second time in September. This variety grows upright and reaches heights of between 50 and 60 cm. The ideal planting distance to other plants or star umbels should be around 40 cm. As far as winter hardiness is concerned, this variety is just as frost hardy as the others mentioned.

Star umbels cut a fine figure in every garden with their colorful flower umbels and their pinnate, sometimes even multi-colored leaves. Relatively inconspicuous at first glance, they cast a spell on almost everyone on closer inspection. They are easy to care for, hardy and are suitable both for standing alone and for combining with other plants. If you plant several types of star umbels next to each other, you will get beautiful carpets of flowers with flowering times from spring to autumn. This plant is very resistant to diseases. Only voles can harm it, which can be counteracted by planting in a fine-meshed wire mesh. Damage caused by snails does occur, but is rather rare.

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