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Dwarf Chinese Astilbe flowers

Dwarf Chinese Astilbe flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Dwarf Chinese Astilbe in bloom

Dwarf Chinese Astilbe in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height: 8 inches

Flower Height: 12 inches

Spacing: 18 inches


Hardiness Zone: 2b

Other Names: False Spirea

Ornamental Features

Dwarf Chinese Astilbe has masses of beautiful plumes of fuchsia flowers at the ends of the stems from mid to late summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its ferny compound leaves remain emerald green in colour throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Dwarf Chinese Astilbe is an herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It is a good choice for attracting butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Dwarf Chinese Astilbe is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Dwarf Chinese Astilbe will grow to be about 8 inches tall at maturity extending to 12 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 24 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 18 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone over the growing season to conserve soil moisture. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Dwarf Chinese Astilbe is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. It is often used as a ‘filler’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination, providing a mass of flowers against which the larger thriller plants stand out. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Astilbe chinensis var. pumila

Photo courtesy Walters Gardens, Inc.

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Dwarf Chinese Astilbe

Plant Type: Perennial
MORNING sun/AFTERNOON shade to FULL shade

Lilac-pink fluffy flower plumes June through August on graceful, fernlike foliage mounds . Dwarf variety spreads to form an excellent ground cover. Needs consistent moisture for best performance.





Growth Habit

THRILLER (upright)

Landscape Application:

The perfect choice for beds and borders. Superb for landscape containers.

Astilbe chinensis var. pumila Plant Care:

Prefers moist, organically rich soil. Foliage will brown if soil is too dry.

USDA Hardiness Zone: Zone 4 (-30/-20F)

Dwarf Chinese Astilbe Merit Awards and Special Collections

Dwarf Chinese Astilbe Characteristics & Attributes

Season of Interest

LATE (July-frost)

Mid Season (May – June) Late Season (July – frost) Soil Moisture Needs

Moderate to high soil moisture.

Moderate Moist Special Benefits Cut Flower / or Foliage Dried Flower Ground Cover Critter Resistance Deer Resistant Rabbit Resistant

Dwarf Chinese Astilbe Additional Information

Plant Profile: Dwarf Chinese Astilbe (Astilbe chinensis var. pumila)

I used to think of astilbes in general as needing shade and moisture until I met this one. It thrives in shade and moist soil but it tolerates considerably more dryness and sun than other astilbes; my stand of dwarf Chinese astilbes is creeping into the cracks between the bricks on a sunny walk as I write. It resembles the more traditional astilbes but blooms later than most of them and is shorter and stockier. It has rose pink flowers that rise on stiff stems 12-15” high and persist for 3-5 weeks. The foliage is finely cut and forms dense tufts 6’ high that are attractive all season if not allowed to dry out. Dwarf Chinese astilbe spreads by horizontal underground stems and can be planted as a groundcover, as an edging, or massed in a border or bed.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Bloom: Small rose pink flowers are produced in mid- to late summer.

Size: 8-12” H x 8-15” W.

Light: Part to full shade but tolerates more light.

Soil: Rich organic, moist, soil but tolerates some dryness.

Fertilizer: Apply compost in spring.

Hardiness: Zones 4-8.

Care: Low maintenance.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance.

Propagation: Division in spring or fall but plants will spread on their own by means of rhizomes.

Companion plants: Medium to small hostas, ferns, lilyturf (Liriope muscari), rose balsam (Impatiens balsamina).

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