How To Plant Astilbe Roots [ Full Guide ]

Astilbe is a stunning perennial plant known for its attractive, feathery plumes and vibrant, lush foliage. Planting astilbe roots requires careful consideration of the right time and location, soil preparation, and proper handling of the roots. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the detailed steps necessary to ensure successful planting and healthy growth of astilbe in your garden.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Astilbe Roots

Before we delve into the in-depth steps, let’s quickly summarize the process of planting astilbe roots. To plant astilbe roots, follow these steps:

  1. Choose the right time and location for planting, ideally in early spring or fall, in a shaded, moist area with well-draining soil.
  2. Prepare the soil by incorporating organic matter and ensuring proper pH levels.
  3. Purchase quality astilbe roots from a reputable nursery or garden center and ensure they are well-hydrated.
  4. Plant the astilbe roots at the right depth, spacing them appropriately, and water them thoroughly after planting.
  5. Mulch the planted area to retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
  6. Provide consistent moisture and care for the astilbe as they establish and grow.

Now, let’s thoroughly explore each step to ensure that you have all the information needed to successfully plant and cultivate astilbe in your garden.

Choosing The Right Time And Location For Planting


The timing of planting astilbe roots is crucial for their successful establishment. It is generally recommended to plant astilbe in early spring or fall when the weather is cooler and there is typically more rainfall. This allows the roots to establish themselves before the hotter and drier conditions of summer.

Planting in early spring provides the plants with ample time to develop a strong root system before the heat of summer arrives. On the other hand, fall planting allows the roots to establish themselves before winter sets in, giving them a head start for the following spring.


Astilbe thrives in shaded or partially shaded areas, making it an ideal choice for woodland gardens or shady borders. When selecting a location for planting astilbe, consider areas of your garden that receive filtered sunlight or dappled shade throughout the day.

Additionally, astilbe requires moist, well-draining soil to thrive. Look for a location that naturally retains moisture without becoming waterlogged. The presence of organic matter, such as compost or leaf litter, can contribute to the moisture retention and overall health of the soil.

Preparing The Soil For Astilbe

Soil Composition

Astilbe plants prefer soil that is rich in organic matter and has a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Before planting, it’s essential to test the soil pH using a simple soil testing kit, which can be obtained from a garden center or nursery. The ideal pH range for astilbe is between 5.5 and 6.5.

If the soil pH is too high, meaning it is alkaline, you can lower it by incorporating organic matter such as peat moss or well-aged compost. If the pH is too low, or acidic, you can raise it by adding lime to the soil. Follow the instructions on the soil testing kit and amend the soil accordingly to achieve the optimal pH level for astilbe growth.

Soil Preparation

Before planting astilbe, prepare the planting area by working the soil to a depth of 12-15 inches. Remove any weeds, rocks, or debris from the area. Incorporate a generous amount of organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, into the soil. This will improve the soil structure, fertility, and moisture retention, providing an optimal environment for the roots to establish and the plants to thrive.

Ensure that the soil is well-draining, as astilbe roots are susceptible to rot in waterlogged conditions. If the soil in the chosen area does not drain well, consider amending it with materials such as coarse sand or perlite to improve drainage.

Purchasing And Preparing Astilbe Roots

Purchasing Astilbe Roots

When purchasing astilbe roots, it’s important to select healthy, high-quality specimens to ensure successful establishment and vigorous growth. Look for astilbe roots at reputable nurseries, garden centers, or online suppliers that specialize in perennial plants. Consider the following factors when selecting astilbe roots:

  • Quality: Choose roots that are plump, firm, and free from signs of rot or damage. Healthy roots are essential for the plants to establish themselves and thrive.
  • Variety: There are numerous astilbe varieties available, each with unique characteristics such as flower color, height, and foliage. Select a variety that suits your garden’s requirements in terms of size, color, and blooming season.

Preparing Astilbe Roots

Upon obtaining the astilbe roots, it’s crucial to keep them moist and well-hydrated until planting. If the roots appear dry, soak them in water for a few hours before planting to rehydrate them.

It’s also important to inspect the roots for any signs of damage or disease. Trim off any damaged or excessively long roots using clean and sharp gardening shears. Trimming the roots encourages the development of new, healthy root growth and enhances the plant’s ability to establish itself in its new environment.

Planting Astilbe Roots

Planting Depth And Spacing

When planting astilbe roots, it’s essential to place them at the appropriate depth in the soil. Dig a hole that is slightly wider and deeper than the root ball of the astilbe plant. Typically, the hole should be deep enough to accommodate the roots without bending or crowding them. Ensure that the crown of the plant, which is where the roots meet the stems, is positioned at the soil level when the plant is placed in the hole.

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The spacing between astilbe plants depends on the variety and its expected mature size. As a general guideline, space the plants approximately 18-24 inches apart to allow for adequate airflow and accommodate the plants’ mature spread.

Planting Procedure

  1. Digging the Hole: Dig a hole that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the astilbe roots without crowding or bending them.
  2. Placing the Roots: Gently place the astilbe roots in the hole, spreading them out and positioning the crown at soil level.
  3. Backfilling: Fill the hole with the amended soil, gently firming it around the roots to remove air pockets. Avoid compacting the soil excessively, as astilbe roots benefit from loose, well-aerated soil.
  4. Watering: After planting, thoroughly water the area to settle the soil around the roots and provide initial hydration to the plants.


After planting your astilbe roots, apply a layer of organic mulch around the plants to help retain moisture in the soil, suppress weed growth, and moderate soil temperature. Suitable mulch materials include shredded bark, compost, or leaf mold. Apply the mulch to a depth of 2-3 inches, taking care to leave a small gap around the stems of the plants to prevent moisture-related issues such as rot or disease.

When planting astilbe roots, careful consideration of the timing, location, soil preparation, and handling of the roots is essential to ensure successful establishment and robust growth of these beautiful perennial plants. By following the detailed steps outlined in this guide, you can create an ideal environment for astilbe to flourish in your garden, providing you with stunning plumes of colorful blooms and lush foliage for years to come. With proper care and maintenance, astilbe plants will bring grace and beauty to shaded areas of your garden, enriching the landscape with their unique charm and elegance.

The Importance Of Proper Spacing And Depth

Astilbe is a popular perennial plant that is beloved for its beautiful, feathery blooms and lush foliage. It is a low-maintenance plant that thrives in shady, moist areas, making it an excellent choice for gardens and landscapes. If you’re planning to add astilbe to your garden, it’s important to know how to properly plant its roots to ensure healthy growth and vibrant blooms.

Before we delve into the step-by-step process of planting astilbe roots, it’s crucial to understand the importance of proper spacing and depth. Astilbe plants require adequate space to grow and spread, and their roots need to be placed at the right depth to ensure they receive proper nutrients and moisture. Incorrect spacing and depth can hinder their growth and result in weak plants.

How To Plant Astilbe Roots Step-by-Step

  1. Choose the right location: Astilbe plants thrive in partial shade or full shade. Look for an area in your garden that receives dappled sunlight or is shaded for a significant part of the day. It’s also important to select a spot with well-draining soil as astilbe prefers moist conditions but does not tolerate waterlogged soil.
  2. Prepare the soil: Before planting the astilbe roots, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or debris. Loosen the soil with a garden fork or shovel to ensure it is well-drained and aerated. Astilbe prefers slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. If your soil is alkaline, you can add organic matter or peat moss to lower the pH level.
  3. Dig the holes: Dig holes that are approximately two times wider and deeper than the root ball of the astilbe plant. This will allow the roots to freely spread and establish themselves in the soil.
  4. Add organic matter: To improve the soil’s moisture retention and fertility, mix in compost, well-rotted manure, or peat moss into the bottom of each planting hole. This will provide the astilbe roots with rich nutrients and help them retain moisture.
  5. Soak the roots: Before planting the astilbe roots, soak them in water for about 30 minutes. This will hydrate the roots and prevent them from drying out during the planting process.
  6. Planting the roots: Place the soaked astilbe root ball in the center of the hole, making sure the crown is level with or slightly above the soil surface. The crown is the area where the roots meet the stem. Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots to remove any air pockets. Avoid burying the crown too deep, as it may lead to rotting.
  7. Spacing the plants: Depending on the variety, astilbe plants can spread between 12 to 24 inches. Leave enough space between each plant to allow them to grow and expand. This will prevent overcrowding and competition for nutrients and light.
  8. Water thoroughly: After planting the astilbe roots, water the area thoroughly. This will settle the soil around the roots and provide moisture to help the plant establish itself.

Watering And Fertilizing Astilbe Roots

Proper watering and fertilization are essential for the health and vigor of astilbe plants. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Watering: Astilbe plants prefer consistently moist soil. Water your astilbe deeply and regularly, especially during dry spells or hot summer months. Aim to give them at least one inch of water per week. Mulching the area around the plants can help retain moisture and prevent weed growth. Avoid overwatering, as soggy soil can lead to root rot.
  2. Fertilizing: Astilbe plants benefit from regular fertilization. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring before new growth begins. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and methods. Additionally, you can side-dress the plants with compost or well-rotted manure in the spring or fall to improve soil fertility.
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Caring For Young Astilbe Plants

After planting the astilbe roots, it is important to provide them with proper care to ensure their healthy development. Here are some tips for caring for young astilbe plants:

  1. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded bark, around the base of the plants. Mulching helps retain moisture, suppresses weeds, and regulates soil temperature. Keep the mulch several inches away from the plant stems to prevent rotting.
  2. Weeding: Regularly remove weeds around the astilbe plants to prevent competition for nutrients and water. Be careful not to disturb the shallow roots of the astilbe while weeding.
  3. Deadheading: As the astilbe blooms fade, remove the spent flower spikes by cutting them back to the base of the plant. Deadheading encourages continuous blooming and prevents the plant from expending energy on seed production.
  4. Dividing: Every 3 to 4 years, astilbe plants should be divided to maintain their vigor and prevent overcrowding. Dividing involves lifting the clumps of astilbe, separating them into smaller sections, and replanting them in well-prepared soil. Dividing can be done in early spring or in early fall.
  5. Winter protection: In colder climates, astilbe plants may require protection during winter. Apply a layer of mulch or pine needles around the base of the plants to insulate the roots and prevent frost damage. Remove the protective covering in early spring to allow new growth to emerge.

Planting astilbe roots is a straightforward process that, when done correctly, ensures healthy growth and abundant blooms. Choosing the right location, preparing the soil, and planting the roots at the proper depth are crucial steps in the planting process. Providing adequate water, fertilizer, and care will help the astilbe plants thrive and beautify your garden for years to come. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the stunning displays of color and texture that astilbe brings to your landscape.

Dealing With Common Pests And Diseases

Astilbe is a beautiful perennial plant that is known for its feathery plumes of flowers and vibrant foliage. It is a popular choice among gardeners due to its ability to thrive in shady areas and its stunning display of colors. Astilbe can be propagated from seeds, divisions, and roots. Planting astilbe roots is a simple and effective way to propagate and grow this beautiful plant in your garden.

Before we delve into the process of planting astilbe roots, it is important to be aware of common pests and diseases that can affect this plant. By identifying and addressing these issues, you can ensure the health and vitality of your astilbe plants.

One common pest that affects astilbe is the astilbe bug (Alandra astilbes), which is a type of aphid. These bugs can cause damage to the foliage by piercing the leaves and sucking out the sap. To control astilbe bugs, you can use insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils. Another option is to introduce beneficial insects such as ladybugs or lacewings, which prey on aphids.

Astilbe can also be susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and leaf spot. To prevent these diseases, it is important to provide adequate spacing between plants to allow for good air circulation. In addition, avoid overhead watering and instead opt for drip irrigation or watering at the base of the plant. If powdery mildew or leaf spot does occur, you can apply a fungicide according to the instructions on the label.

Propagating Astilbe From Roots

Propagating astilbe from roots is a relatively simple and reliable method of expanding your astilbe collection. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to plant astilbe roots:

  1. Choose a suitable planting location: Astilbe thrives in partial shade or dappled sunlight. Select an area in your garden that receives morning sun and afternoon shade for optimal growth. Ensure the soil is well-draining and rich in organic matter.

  2. Prepare the soil: Prepare the planting site by removing any weeds or grass and loosening the soil. Astilbe prefers slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. If your soil is too alkaline, you can amend it with peat moss or compost to lower the pH.

  3. Soak the astilbe roots: Before planting, soak the astilbe roots in water for a few hours to hydrate them and encourage healthy growth.

  4. Dig a hole: Dig a hole that is deep enough to accommodate the astilbe roots. The hole should be slightly larger than the root ball to allow for root expansion.

  5. Plant the astilbe roots: Place the astilbe root in the hole, making sure that the crown is level with or slightly above the soil surface. Gently backfill the hole with soil, ensuring that the roots are covered but the crown is exposed.

  6. Water thoroughly: After planting, water the astilbe thoroughly to settle the soil and provide the plant with the moisture it needs. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, throughout the growing season.

  7. Mulch around the plant: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded leaves, around the base of the plant. This will help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and insulate the roots against extreme temperatures.

  8. Monitor and care for the astilbe: Regularly monitor the astilbe plant for signs of growth, such as new leaves and shoots. Water as needed to keep the soil moist, and fertilize with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring and early summer. Remove any dead or damaged foliage to maintain the plant’s overall health and appearance.

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Tips For Overwintering Astilbe Roots

Astilbe can be somewhat sensitive to cold temperatures, so it is important to take proper steps to overwinter the roots and ensure their survival. Here are some tips to help you successfully overwinter astilbe roots:

  1. Mulch for insulation: Before the first frost, apply a layer of mulch around the base of the astilbe plants to provide insulation against freezing temperatures. Use a thick layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, to protect the roots from extreme cold.

  2. Cut back foliage: After the first frost has killed the foliage, cut back the astilbe plants to about 2 inches above the ground. This will help prevent disease and rot during the winter months.

  3. Avoid excessive moisture: While it is important to keep the astilbe roots moist, it is equally important to ensure that they do not become waterlogged. Excessive moisture can lead to root rot and other problems. Monitor the soil moisture levels and adjust watering accordingly.

  4. Protect against pests: During the winter months, pests such as mice and voles may be attracted to the garden and can cause damage to the astilbe roots. Place protective barriers, such as wire mesh or hardware cloth, around the base of the plants to deter these pests.

  5. Monitor for signs of damage: Regularly check the astilbe plants for signs of damage or disease during the winter months. Remove any damaged or diseased parts to prevent the spread of infection.

  6. Emerge in spring: As the winter months come to an end and temperatures start to rise, the astilbe plants will begin to emerge from dormancy. Remove any remaining mulch around the base of the plants to allow for new growth.

Creative Ideas For Using Astilbe In The Garden

Astilbe is a versatile plant that can be used in various ways to add beauty and interest to your garden. Here are some creative ideas for incorporating astilbe into your garden:

  1. Mixed borders: Plant astilbe in mixed borders to provide a pop of color and texture. Combine astilbe with other shade-loving plants such as hostas, ferns, and heucheras to create a beautiful and diverse planting.

  2. Woodland gardens: Astilbe thrives in shaded areas, making it an excellent choice for woodland gardens. Plant astilbe among trees and shrubs to create a natural and vibrant undergrowth.

  3. Container gardening: Astilbe can also be grown in containers, allowing you to enjoy its beauty even if you have limited garden space. Use large containers with well-draining soil and place them in shady or partially shaded areas.

  4. Water features: Astilbe loves moist soil, making it a perfect choice for planting near water features such as ponds or streams. Its vibrant flowers and lush foliage can create a striking contrast against the water.

  5. Cut flower arrangements: The feathery plumes of astilbe make beautiful additions to cut flower arrangements. Harvest the plumes when they are fully open and use them in floral displays to add texture and color.

  6. Accent plants: Plant astilbe in strategic locations throughout your garden to act as focal points or accents. Use them to highlight certain areas or draw attention to specific features of your landscape.


Planting astilbe roots is a simple and rewarding way to grow this stunning perennial plant in your garden. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully propagate astilbe and enjoy its vibrant flowers and lush foliage year after year. Remember to address common pests and diseases, properly overwinter astilbe roots, and explore creative ideas for incorporating astilbe into your garden. With proper care and attention, your astilbe plants will thrive and enhance the beauty of your outdoor space.


What Is The Best Time Of Year To Plant Astilbe Roots?

Astilbe roots should ideally be planted in the early spring or late fall when the soil is moist and cool.

How Should The Soil Be Prepared For Planting Astilbe Roots?

The soil should be loosened and amended with organic matter like compost or peat moss. It should also be well-draining, as astilbe roots can rot in waterlogged soil.

How Deep Should Astilbe Roots Be Planted?

Astilbe roots should be planted so that the crown is just below the surface of the soil. This is typically 2-3 inches deep.

How Much Sun And Water Does Astilbe Need?

Astilbe is a shade-loving plant and should be planted in an area that receives partial to full shade. It also requires consistent moisture, so be sure to water it regularly, especially in hot and dry weather.

How Often Should Astilbe Roots Be Divided?

Astilbe should be divided every 3-4 years in the early spring, when the foliage has just begun to emerge. This will help maintain the plant’s health and promote more prolific blooming.