Astrantia Growing & Planting Guide

Astrantia Growing & Planting Guide

Astrantia Growing & Planting Guide

Image by Sonja Kalee from Pixabay

Astrantia (Astrantia major) is a genus of unusual and attractive flowers also known as masterwort. Most gardens do not have this perennial that prefers shade, but they ought to. Western Asia and Europe are the native home of astrantia. A stunning, hardy, and simple-to-grow plant that can be used to make low upkeep flowerbeds and borders. Astrantia is one of the most striking summer species, making it great for cutting and perfect for gardens with partial shade and moist soil. Additionally, they are exceptionally pollen-rich, which attracts pollinators greatly.

Common Name Masterwort, Hattie’s pincushion, Greater Masterwort, Melancholy Gentleman
Botanical Name Astrantia
Family Apiaceae
Plant Type Perennial
Mature Size 1-2 feet wide and 1-3 feet high
Sun Exposure From partial to full shade
Soil Type Moist, well-drained (sand, clay, chalk or loam)
Soil pH Slightly acidic to Neutral
Bloom Time June to August
Hardiness Zones 4-9 (USDA)
Flower Color Green, purple, red, white, pink
Spread 30cm – 60cm
Season of Interest Late Spring, Summer(Early,Mid,Late)
Spacing 24″ (60cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Medium
Hardiness Fully hardy
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Cut Flowers, and Showy
Tolerance Deer, Wet Soil
Attracts Butterflies
Uses Container gardening, indoor displays, raised garden beds, and traditional
flower gardens
Native AreaEurope

Growing Astrantia

Astrantias should be grown in moist soil with some shade. After flowering, prune back the plant to promote a second flush of blooms, and mulch every year. As long as they receive regular watering and mulching, astrantias can flourish in drier soils. Astrantias grow best in heavy, moist soil that is rich in organic matter, such as home-made compost, well-rotted manure, or leaf mould. They thrive in direct sunlight but thrive even more in dappled shade.

Planting Astrantia

Make a planting hole, take your plant out of its pot, and place it inside. Add soil to the backfill and firmly compact it. If your soil is free-draining, you should water the plant liberally the first summer and continue to do so throughout. To improve soil fertility and retain moisture, add organic matter. You won’t need to stake the plants.

Sowing Astrantia

Between February and April, astrantia seeds can be sown indoors for spring planting. Once the weather warms up, the seeds can be pricked out, potted up, and planted outdoors.

Another option is to directly plant the seeds from your own Astrantia plants (or perhaps a neighbor’s or friend’s that you admire) in trays or drills in the garden in August or September. The following spring, you can prick out the seeds and plant them in their final growing locations.

Caring Astrantia

Astrantia is a lovely addition to the middle or back of border plantings and shaded garden beds. It pairs well with perennials that form mounds, like hostas, in shade gardens because of its propensity to grow entirely upright. Astrantia grows best in areas that are only slightly shaded because it is a perennial found in woodlands. The Astrantia appreciates access to a consistent supply of moisture, so it can be grown close to streams, water gardens, or any other areas of your landscape that frequently remain wet—even close to a leaky water spigot. Nothing needs to be done to get these hardy plants ready for the winter. In the spring, they’ll reappear in full force and bloom.


Being a perennial, the Astrantia prefers a little bit of shade, so make sure it gets either filtered shade all day or just morning sun with shade in the afternoon when it gets too hot. Astrantia will tolerate being grown in more sunny areas if you happen to reside in a climate with cooler summers (not exceeding 75 degrees).


Almost all types of soil are suitable for Astrantia. It prefers organically rich soil in particular. It is best to have a loamy soil with a lot of organic matter because sandy soil typically has trouble holding onto moisture. These plants can be grown in clay soils as long as the soils are kept moist and don’t bake dry in the heat.

Consider adding a lot of organic matter before planting if your soil has sticky clay or sand that could make it dry out more quickly. Every fall, you can also add a layer or two of compost.


Always keep the soil evenly moist. It needs to be watered more frequently and consistently, especially during the hot summer months. It can actually flourish in the kind of persistently moist soil that may cause root rot in other perennials. If this perennial doesn’t get enough moisture during the summer, it might produce fewer blooms and crispy brown foliage because it can’t withstand periods of drought.

Temperature and Humidity

If you live in a hotter climate, you might want to cover the soil with a two- to three-inch layer of mulch to keep it moist for longer. Your astrantia plant will have access to more moisture because less of it will evaporate.


Astrantia should be fertilised once or twice a year for the best growth. Mulching should be applied to keep the soil’s temperature cooler for the roots of your Astrantia, and it can also help control weed growth. Additionally, organic mulches like compost, pine needles, or shredded wood will eventually decompose and enhance the soil quality.

Types of Astrantia

Astrantia comes in a variety of forms, including:

Abbey Road‘: Purple-red stems with light to dark pink flowers.

Alba‘: Greenish white bracts covering its white flowers and green foliage.

Bloody Mary‘: Flowers with a silvery green centre that are dark red overall.

Buckland‘: Three-foot-tall, pale pink flowers

Hadspen Blood‘: 2 foot tall, dark red flowers with maroon stems.

Moulin Rouge‘: Ruby red flowers with dark purple tinged edges

Roma‘: 2 foot tall, large pink flowers

Ruby Wedding‘: Red flowers on two-foot stems

Star of Royals‘: Pinkish-white flowers.

Venice‘: clump-forming plant with deep ruby red flowers.


Organic matter mulching around your plants will help to retain soil moisture and cut down on water usage. Keep in mind that on sunny days, water will evaporate from the soil more quickly the less shade there is. Every year, replenish your organic mulch. Mulch options include well-rotted manure, homemade compost, autumn leaves or leaf mould. Astrantia plants are relatively simple and low maintenance, requiring little care as long as the basic requirements of moisture, soil, and environmental conditions are met.


Deadheading is the main task (if you don’t want your plants to self-seed and want to extend the blooming period). Regular deadheading will allow you to enjoy more blooms for a longer period of time. After flowering, Astrantia can produce a second flush of flowers by being cut back. Cut astrantia in the summer if you plan to dry some for indoor floral arrangements. Once fully dried, hang them upside down in a warm, dry location; they should keep well.

Pruning Astrantia

These plants won’t need a lot of pruning, but by removing old, faded flowers, you can lengthen the Astrantia’s blooming period. Deadheading is a technique that can help your plants bloom well into July. Astrantia stems can be pruned to a height of a few inches in either late fall or early winter (you’ll know it’s time when the frost has killed the foliage), as well as in early spring when the plant starts to grow again.

Propagating Astrantia

These plants can be multiplied either by seed or by division. Plant division is simple and is best done in the spring (it can also be done in the early fall if you see large plants that need to be separated). This is how:

Dig up a mature clump with a spade. By taking the spade and slicing it in half, divide the clump. Sometimes you can use your hands to carefully pry the piece apart. The two sections should be replanted in the desired location with water.

Astrantia Potting & Repotting

Astrantia is usually a perennial, but if you grow it in a sizable container with drainage holes and a drainage plate, you can enjoy it as an annual. You’ll be able to appreciate its distinctive, intricate flowers up close that way (be sure to put it in a shaded area of the deck or patio).

Use professional potting soil when planting Astrantia, and make sure the crown is either at or just above the soil’s surface. To prevent crown and root rot after being potted, water your plant right away and think about using a broad-spectrum fungicide. Simply replant the potted plants in a larger container if you notice that they are growing too large for the one they are currently in.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Astrantias are easy-going plants that rarely experience problems from garden pests like slugs and snails. They could, however, be vulnerable to fungal powdery mildews, which appear as a white coating on the leaves of the plant. Cut back the plants in the fall and get rid of or burn the leaves. To stop any lingering fungal spores from splashing up on the plants in the spring, cover the soil with a layer of mulch. Targets are more likely to be dried-out or stressed-out plants.