Content Detail

Chinese astilbe is a clump-forming perennial with deep green, fern-like foliage and narrow sprays of upright flowers. Young leaves can be copper colored and quite showy. Excellent for mass planting in shady areas. Although it performs best in part-shade with uniformly moist soils, it is more tolerant of dry soil than other astilbes.

  • Family (English) Saxifrage
  • Family (botanic) Saxifragaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches), Medium plant (12-24 inches), Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Wet sites
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer, late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink, Purple, Red, White
  • Shape or form Mounded, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate


Chinese astilbe grows 2 to 4 feet high and 2 feet wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to China. Prefers evenly moist, shady areas.

Attracts birds or pollinators:

Butterflies are attracted to the blooms.

Leaf description:

Deep green, pinnately compound leaves divided into small toothed, oval leaflets. Often copper-colored when young.

Flower description:

Fluffy, pink-tinged white flowers rise vertically above the clump of leaves. Flowers age to a rust color and will persist into winter.

Fruit description:

Tiny seed capsules are located on the flower stems.


Plant care:

Keep soil moist in spring and summer. Chinese astilbes are heavy feeders and prefer spring fertilization. Divide or plant in early spring or by mid-September, but wait until spring to cut back.


List of pests, diseases, tolerances and resistance: 

No serious problems. Lack of moisture in spring and mid-summer can cause poor flowering or leaf die-back. Deer and rabbit resistant.  Black walnut toxicity tolerant.

Maggie Daley Chinese astilbe (Astilbe chinensis ‘Maggie Daley’):

This cultivar is 2 to 3 feet high and 12 to 18 inches wide. Fuzzy lavender-purple flowers show later than other astilbes. Spring foliage is bronzy and shiny, turning to dark green as it matures.

Pumila Chinese astilbe (Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila’):

A dwarf at 8 to 12 inches high and wide, this cultivar blooms in July through September. Pumila makes a good groundcover in moist shade, as it spreads more quickly than other astilbes.

Purple Candles Chinese astilbe (Astilbe chinensis ‘Purpurkerze’):

Reddish-purple flowers in upright, narrow sprays bloom in August. This plant is 2 to 4 feet high and 18 to 24 inches wide. The stems are bronze-green.

Superba Chinese astilbe (Astilbe chinensis ‘Superba’):

This large, showy astilbe has dense magenta-purple flowers and grows to 3 to 4 feet high and 18 to 24 inches wide. This cultivar has hairier stems than most astilbes.

Visions Chinese astilbe (Astilbe chinensis ‘Visions’):

The Visions series has upright flower stems with bronze green leaves and a dense habit. This variety is more compact at 18 to 24 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide. Flowers are dark pink.

Visions in Pink Chinese astilbe (Astilbe chinensis ‘Visions in Pink’):

A 12 to 18 inches tall and wide cultivar with lighter pink flowers.  


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