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Plant of the month – August 2021

By August 1, 2021March 2nd, 2023No Comments

Astilbe chinensis ‘Brokat’

One of the best and most striking Astilbe varieties is also one of the last to flower. This showstopper flowers late in the season, through August and into September. It produces masses of attractive ferny foliage, with architectural upright plumes of vibrant feathery flowers.

Brokat’ is a chinensis type astilbe. This means it is more drought tolerant than other species of Astilbes. It can be planted away from the stream edge and within herbaceous borders. it contrasts well with the fiery colours of late summer perennials, such as Kniphofia (red hot poker), Helenium and Rudbeckia (Black eyed Susan) It is a medium to tall Astilbe at 60-90cm, it prefers full sun and is very vigorous so will quickly form a large clump.

It would be fair to say there aren’t any other flowers as excitingly purple in the garden at this time of year. This vibrance of this colour brings to mind images of Cadbury chocolate box. Astilbes are generally pest free, not fussy and very easy to propagate. Great news for any gardeners – especially at Marwood Hill Gardens where we hold the national collection. If you are lucky enough to have these, at intervals of three to four years simply lift these plant and divide. Autumn division is best. However, be prepared to sacrifice an old pruning saw as the job of division can become tricky. You need a strong arm as the roots can become quite woody with age. Divided plants can be either potted up or replanted back in the ground. You can use any potting compost but I can happily report that peat-free bark-based compost works very well. (as well as being good for the planet) Regular division encourages increased flowering.

Other astilbes to flower in late August include ‘Visions in Red’, ‘Salmonea’ (pink), ‘Walkerie’ (magenta), ‘Visions’, ‘Purple Glory’.

We sell Astilbe ‘Brokat’ in our plant centre and our online shop. it is very popular and every year it sells out quickly so catch this beauty for your garden while you can.