Traditional and unusual Shrubs,  Herbs, Plants and flowers
Grow astrantias for beautiful summer borders, these popular slug-proof cottage-garden perennials make a wonderful addition to English gardens. Their pincushion heads of minute cream, pink and green flowers, surrounded by papery green-tipped bracts, were once collected from the wild for medicinal use. The old English name for straitness, ‘masterwort’, denotes their herbal use as a purgative or diuretic. But their quiet beauty saw them established in cottage gardens, becoming ever showier. If you grow these starry perennials, you’ll know that many come in dark colours, from blood red to deep purple and near black. These dark types are the most sought after and are mostly cultivars or varieties of Astrantia major – a European native sporting pale pink pincushions, framed by pink-tinged green and cream bracts. The glossy green leaves form impressive mounds. One of the loveliest of this good-looking family is the stately A. maxima, tall and beautiful. The pale pink bracts forming the characteristic ‘ruff’ are wide, tapering to a point, framing the prominent central umbel of large, crushed-strawberry coloured flowers. The underside of the flowerhead is an astonishing bright green. Sun Exposure Astrantia is very adaptable, and will grow well in full sun, given plenty of water, or in full shade, where foliage is lush, and blooms are few. Ideally, astrantia should be grown where they will receive a few hours of morning light, with dappled shade the rest of the day. For best growth and performance, astrantia should be planted in partial sun to dappled shade. Soil Type Astrantia will grow in heavy clay soils, but much prefers slightly acidic, light rich, loamy soils that retain moisture, but drain off standing water. Incorporate compost, dried leaves, even used coffee grounds into your soil for more organic nutrients. Planting Depth Plant your astrantia with the crown ½ - 1 inch below the surface of the soil, with the roots spread out and down. Fill in with loose soil and do not pack it down too tightly. Mulch to maintain even moisture. Watering Water you astrantia regularly and thoroughly to maintain a fairly even soil moisture. It will not survive sustained periods of dry soil. Bloom Season Astrantia typically bloom from early to mid-summer an exceptionally long and abundant bloom season, and they produce flowers from early summer right through to early autumn. Deadhead, or remove spent blooms to encourage continued bloom production. The flowers make long lasting cuts for fresh bouquets, and they dry beautifully for winter interest. Winter Care Your astrantia will shrug off the coldest of winters, and be ready to grow and bloom for you, bigger and better every year! Enjoy!
Scientific Name Astrantia Common Name Masterwort 'Lars' Sun Exposure Full Sun or Partial Shade Soil Type Any Blooming Time Late Spring to Summer Height 20-30 cm 8-12 inches Spread 25-30 cm 10-12 inches
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