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Ask Ella: Why Astilbe Is Our Favorite Filler Flower

Ask Ella is a recurring Garden Collage feature where we ask our in-house florist, Ella Stavonsky, about floral design– including the history of, origin, and maintenance that goes into some of the most intriguing flowers on the market today. This column is dedicated exclusively to common and rare varieties of flowers you’re likely to find at your local market. This week, we spotlight astilbe, the vivid floral sweethearts of shady garden spots. 


In hues of pinks, whites, and reds, astilbes are a festive flower that fill out bouquets at a reasonable price, infusing arrangements with color, texture, and a whole lot of character. For gardeners, astilbes are an all-time favorite when it comes to flower arranging, as they thrive in the shade but still offer vibrant color (no offense to ferns). Their eccentric, whimsical shape makes them hard to mistake for anything else; they almost resemble a feather duster– if feather dusters were invented by Lewis Carroll.

Ask Ella Astilbe

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In arrangements, we love pairing astilbe with roses, hydrangeas, dahlias, and other pastel colors for a showy, flowery look. Plus, their stiff stems won’t droop and can support the weight of other flowers (like globe amaranth) that might need the extra structure. They add a fanciful shock of color when mixed into wedding center pieces (which is our favorite way to use them) but even a small handful by themselves in a simple glass vase adds an airy style to any room. To care for astilbe, recut the stems every other day and keep in cold water. Otherwise, no extra work needed– just enjoy their peculiar, plumed look!

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