never-flowering astilbe

emme-dc(7b DC)October 24, 2012

About 5 or 6 (or 7?) years ago, I planted an astilbe in my very shady garden. I can't remember what variety it was. It hung on, kept sending up foliage year after year, but didn't grow much, and never flowered. I was pretty sure the spot I'd picked was just too shady, and finally last spring I moved it when it came up to a brighter spot. Well, it grew much bigger than ever before, and looked pretty happy, but it still never sent up flowers. What's the deal? Did I just get a dud, or could it still decide to flower one day? Or do my conditions just not suit?

Where I think I've seen astilbe flourishing and looking nice, it's usually constant bright shade, as opposed to intermittent bright sun and dark shade. Which is what what I have in the spots that get any sun at all. Thoughts?

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Water. Astilbe's hate to be dry.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 6:00PM
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emme-dc(7b DC)

So you think if I water it religiously, it might flower next year? How much drying will put the kibosh on blossoms for a season? I thought I actually did a good job of keeping things moist this year, since I'd transplanted or brought in a lot of new things I was watering frequently, and we also got plenty of rain. But maybe I just need to put in a soaker hose with a timer or find a less fussy plant.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Astilbe likes rich, moist soil. Try mulching with composted manure especially rabbit manure topped with shredded leaves.

I bought 5 gal. pots one year dead looking in August, but after soaking them well and planting them in composted barnyard manures layered right on my existing soil they bloomed the next summer. Then in spring I removed 2 plants and divided one so I had 3 for another location at our camp planted in April that received no summer water once our rains stopped July 4th. I watered in mid-September just once. Rains came again in October & we mulched the bed. I expect them to continue to bloom.

You might want to try dividing it next spring to renew it. There might be a lot of old woody root.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:02AM
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