Astilbe glaberrima var. saxatilis
A dwarf Astilbe with the fluffiest little flower feathers and very pretty, finely divided leaves.
Perhaps Astilbe glaberrima var saxatilis, “Rock Astilbe”, should more accurately be called “Fairy Astilbe”.
Daintiest plumes of fairy pink & white.
Fuzzy plumes of tiny white and pink flowers emerge in summer on this diminutive little Astilbe.
It looks great nestling beside a rock at the front of the garden, or under a shrub.
Worth a place and very suitable for even the tiniest garden.
(Scroll down to “Growing” section below for plant details, how / where to grow).
Excellent cut flowers for dolls house size vases
They actually do make great cut flowers for dainty posies, and they last just as well in the vase as their bigger cousins.
Looks delicate, but tough and robust
For those gardeners who have never dared have an Astilbe before, this little pet is a good one to try first.
Because despite the dainty, delicate appearance, it is actually amongst the most tough and robust of all astilbe.
The glossy bronze-green foliage clump is an asset too, as it looks like a miniature suntanned fern when not in flower.
It is also a little later to flower than bigger Astilbes, so also helps to extend the season of Astilbe heaven.
Light up the shade
All Astilbe have a preference for partial shade and woodland conditions with dappled light, and the little Rock Astilbe is no exception.
Though they are perfectly happy in full shade, as long as it is well aired.
They can also thrive in sun in cooler districts, but only with a steady and regular supply of water to overcome the heat.
So they require less water when grown in the shade.
Growing: Astilbe glaberrima var saxatilis
– Height with flowers: Fuzzy plumes, packed with flowers, on branched little stems to 25cm. approx. Blooms in summer.
– Width: Forms a clump of delightful bronzed foliage to a diameter of approx. 20-30cm.
– Position: Astilbe prefer partial shade and woodland conditions with dappled light. But will also succeed in full shade, as long as there is good air and light levels.
– Soil: Astilbes will give of their best in loam. They love fertilizer and compost, and can happily have their feet in the water permanently if necessary. They enjoy retentive soil, including clay based soils.
And let’s not fool ourselves – no Astilbe is drought hardy. They like regular water, although if it is regular – it does not need to be lots. However Astilbe glaberrima var. saxatilis is notable as one that does not need a drink quite as much, or as often.
Hardy & easy in the right spot
– Frost: Astilbe are extremely frost hardy. So they are able to withstand frost to well below -20C.
– Care: Astilbes are easy, low care plants, if they are given their preferred conditions.
Then the only work required is to trim off spent flower stems to encourage a repeat of autumn blooms. And finally to chop them to the ground at the end of autumn.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Fortunately they are not particularly attractive to rabbits, deer, slugs or snails.
Long season of colour and interest
– Growth: Deciduous hardy perennial.
Rock Astilbe has wonderful glowing butter-yellow autumn foliage. So they are dormant over winter. Before re-emerging with marvellous bronze new spring foliage. Then flowering again in the summer. So they have a very long season of interest in the garden.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Butterflies are particularly attracted to the myriad of tiny nectar rich blossoms that make up feathery Astilbe plumes. But they have to try to beat the little native bees who usually get there first.
– Origin: From rocky ravines in Japan.