Chinese Astilbe, False Spirea, False Goat's Beard 'Pumila'

Astilbe chinensis

Family: Saxifragaceae (saks-ih-frag-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Astilbe (a-STIL-bee) (Info)
Species: chinensis (chi-NEN-sis) (Info)
Cultivar: Pumila
Synonym:Astilbe chinensis var. pumila



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Bloom Color:



Bloom Time:

Mid Summer



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Evanston, Illinois

Bloomington, Indiana

Atalissa, Iowa

Oskaloosa, Iowa

Buckfield, Maine

Ellicott City, Maryland

Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Peabody, Massachusetts

Pinconning, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Brunswick, Missouri

Lincoln, Nebraska

Croton On Hudson, New York

Ithaca, New York

Cleveland, Ohio

Warren, Ohio

Lake Oswego, Oregon

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Kalama, Washington

Ocean Park, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 26, 2008, Loess01 from Atalissa, IA wrote:

I am happy to report that this plant survived a tougher than usual winter in our marginal Zone 5 garden.

This one was a new addition last fall. So far it looks quite healthy and has spread out somewhat. I did add plenty of mulch after the first hard freeze, so maybe that gave it somewhat of a boost.

I would like to add that this sprouted up a good two weeks after most of my other perennials made an appearance this spring. I don't know if that's typical for astilbes or not.


On Mar 19, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Short - 10" - Plant 12" apart. Lilac plumes over deep green foliage from July to August. Great used as ground cover, or in foreground. Spreads well.


On Dec 1, 2006, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

Would like to add to the above that, in our Maryland garden, we have never had to water this plant, and one year was so dry you could walk across a local reservoir. To qualify its drought tolerance with us, let me say that it was already established before that summer. Also, our soil does have a high, moisture-retentive clay content, lots of compost was dug in before planting and the area where it grows is mulched once a year - when we can. Apparently, the dainty looks of this plant belie its extremely versatile constitution that has such a wide range of adaptability.


On Mar 15, 2006, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

'Pumila' appear to bloom even later than the other cultivars of astilbes in my yard. It will look good in a rock garden near a pond. It has "fuzzy" flowers compare to other astilbes.


On Jun 16, 2005, InTheShade from Longmeadow, MA wrote:

This astilbe grows a bit differently than all the others I have. Instead of staying in a tight clump, it spreads forming a nice dense groundcover which is not invasive.


On Nov 12, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

A nice dwarf astilbe for moist to wet locations where you don't want a taller version, such as borders or as a graduation to taller flowers. Has lavender plumes in late summer - this one starts blooming after most of the others are done.

Great for shady locations or just as happy in full sun in northern climates. Fast growing. Divide every couple of years. Moves well to other locations after being divided. Cut flowers back after flowering.


On Aug 1, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Be sure to cut back faded flower stalks. Extra water may be needed in dry periods. Divide after 3-4 years in spring or fall. Astilbe requires a lot of nutrients, so give it some fertilizer at least once per growing season.