Astilbes add a feathery softness to the shade in the summer. Astilbe ‘Europa’ is a medium sized perennial with soft pink plumes. The fluffy plumes look good above the foliage, which stays healthy and green, as long as they get enough moisture.
This is a great flowering plant for medium shade. Only a third of the plumes have opened, but already it is looking good. They would probably get even more blooms in a light shade or sunnier location, but I’m happy with how well it does in the medium shade. The flowers of Europa are a beautiful, clear pink, without purple or peach tones. The light coloured flowers are very noticeable in the shadows. I like how they look with the fiesta white double flowering impatiens. Sometimes I’ve planted a pale apple blossom pink double flowering impatiens with them too. The plumes look pink for about 3 weeks and then start turning brown. This is one of the few perennial blooms that I still like the look of after the flowers lose their colour. I leave the astilbe plumes on until next spring. Like the Hydrangea flowers, they add interest over the winter.
The foliage looks good, green and healthy, and I find it stays that way, as long as it gets enough water. These astilbe plants get about an hour or so of direct sunlight in the early morning, and then a bit of dappled and indirect light for the rest of the day. This probably helps them from getting too dry, I haven’t watered them for a month, but the rain has been very accommodating this summer.
The plumes of this perennial open from the bottom up. In this closeup, it’s easy to see the delicate pink of the astilbe flowers, and the top still waiting to open.
My Astilbe arendsii ‘Diamant’ and A. simplicifolia ‘Hennie Graafland’ are barely beginning to open, and not ready for their closeup yet. They should be adding their showy white and pink blooms to the shade soon too. You can read more about these other astilbe in another post I wrote.Do you grow astilbes, and do you have a favourite?