False Spiraea


1 entry found.
Picture of False Spiraea False Spiraea
Common Name: False Spiraea, False Goat's Beard, Astilbe
Botanical Name: Astilbe X arendsii (a-STIL-bee x ah-RENDZ-ee-ee)
Decorative Life: From about 5 to 15 days in flower food solutions.
Post Harvest Care:
  • Remove bottom leaves if present, recut stems under water and place in a hydration solution followed by fresh flower food.
  • Desiccates (dries out) easily, therefore, place in a hydration solution immediately after harvest. They also can be placed in a wetting agent solution containing 0.01% Triton X-100 but will be damaged if other wetting agents are used such as Tween 20 or Tween 80.
Harvest Instructions: One researcher states that the flowers should be harvested when flowers are from 25-50% open but another says from 50-75% open.
Family Roots:
  • Member of the Saxifragaceae (saxifrage) family.
  • Native to Asia, North America.
  • Related species include Hydrangea, Bergenia, Tiarella and Heuchera.
Personality:
  • Many small flowers are borne in loose, pyramid-shaped clusters at stem ends.
  • Stems leafy, 18-24 inches long.
  • Plant is a herbaceous perennial, classed as a dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined.
Availability: Year-round but mostly summer.
Flower Color: White, pink, rose, red and purple.
Storage Specifics: 32-38 degrees F up to one week. When stored dry, the use of a wetting agent uptake solution treatment is recommended either prior to or after storage. Storing wet is preferred.
Tidbits:
  • In Greek, the name Astilbe means "without brilliance" or "without sheen" and alludes to the fact that the individual flowers of this species are small and inconspicuous.
  • This species is sometimes grown under the name spirea. The "X" in the name indicates that is a cross between different species.
  • Potted plant versions of this species are being developed. Two cultivars that do reasonable well are 'Bumalda' and 'Etna'.
Recent Findings: Van Doorn et al. (1993) documented the need for a good surfactant (wetting agent) in the initial hydration solution, especially immediately after harvest. At the time of this writing, it is not known if the surfactant they used in their studies (nonoxynol-8.5) is available in North America. However, Chain of Life network members are encouraged not to use any surfactant to treat Astilbe because flower damage may result. It needs to be determined if presently available commercial hydration solutions work equally well or better. Han (2004) states that storage at 33-40 F should be in a solution containing a germicide and wetting agent such as Triton X-100 at 100 ppm. Plastic sleeves work better than paper.
Personal Experiences: I am a retail florist. I took home 10 stems of a bright pink cultivar of Astilbe. I don't know the cultivar. The flowers looked great when they left the store. They were out of water for perhaps 2 ½ hours. At home I cut the stems and placed them in Chrysal holding solution. After only a day the tips of the spikes were turning brown, as were the leaves. The leaves were also curling. After another day, I considered the flowers to be no longer acceptable due to drying. I read that the flower is subject to desiccation, so perhaps they were out of water too long. Based on this limited test, I would be very hesitant to sell Astilbe to my customers. I plan to repeat this test and see what happens. (Donn Flipse)