A summary and comparison of most commercially available Astilbe species and a discussion of popular hybrids.
A. chinensis is a commonly available Astilbe species, as well as being used in common hybrids.
Often the latest-blooming Astilbe, chinensis is probably the most drought and heat tolerant species.
Frequently flowering in narrow spires of purple/pink shades, this species has thinner stems and sometimes a bronze cast to foliage.
Some varieties have very thick, bushy flower stems and there are dwarf varieties available. This species is native to China.
Here is an example of A. chinensis:
To see Astilbe chinensis (and other Astilbe) varieties for sale, please visit our Buy Astilbes Page.
A. japonica is a commonly available species and is also used in common hybrids.
This species blooms early to midseason with a wide range of colors and a thicker, more pyramidal flower plume than chinensis.
Often more compact, shorter plants with glossy green foliage. Astilbe japonica is native to Japan.
Here are some examples of A. japonica lineage:
To see Astilbe japonica (and other Astilbe) varieties for sale, please visit our Buy Astilbes Page.
A. simplicifolia is a less-common but still popular Astilbe species that is also used in hybrids.
Like chinensis, simplicifolia blooms late in the season. This species is slow growing and compact with glossy green leaves. The flower is more delicate-looking, open and airy than other Astilbes.
Here is an example of A. simplicifolia:
We do not currently offer any simplicifolia varieties, but we’re still looking! Check back frequently!
Astilbe Hybrids/Arendsii Group
The largest group of Astilbe hybrids bred for home gardens is the Arendsii group. They are often indicated as Astilbe x arendsii, or the Arendsii group. There are more than a hundred varieties in this group alone!
They are mostly the work of one man, Mr. Georg Arends, who loved Astilbe and lived in Germany in the 1930s. He introduced 74+ varieties in 1933 alone! These varieties are complex hybrids between A. astilboides, A. chinensis, A. japonica, A. thunbergii, and others.
Arendsii Astilbes are well-known and loved for their lovely foliage, handsome plume flowers, and their stiff stems that can hold the blossoms upright without staking.
Here are some examples of Arendsii Astilbes: