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My Astrantia, Their Astrantia


In mid-summer last year, we visited a local garden when it was briefly opened to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme. It was a large garden with many gorgeous plants and one of them was Astrantia. I’d heard of Astrantia and seen the pictures in the plant books but this was the first time I saw it in the flesh – as it were – and I was bown away by their delicate beauty.

Astrantia flowers

Isn’t it stunning? Fast-forward a little to the Autumn when I decided to plump for an Astrantia plant from the garden centre so I could have one of my very own. This beats having to wait a whole year to see them for one time only for a few moments on a summer afternoon. The plant was in flower when I bought it and it did set seed.

I researched a little on how to germinate Astrantia seed, the consensus was that it wasn’t easy, but I set about keeping the seeds and sowing them over the winter, hoping to have a seed tray of small plants come the following spring. Unfortunately, with all the other seed trays and plants that I had to look after, tending to the Astrantia fell behind somewhat and I paid the price by having a germination ratio of about 1 in 50 seeds. Just like the Strelitzia, out of a whole batch of seeds, only a single one has germinated, and that is now  one of the most precious seedlings in the garden.

The parent Astrantia is fine and was potted up with some ferns and placed beside the front door so I can see them every time I come and go. They have such a lovely light and airy quality about them and I’m happy that I can post pictures of my own own Astrantia now, instead of someone else’s.

Astrantia Flowers

Mine don’t have the bright pink running through the stems and the green tips are more delicate. I wish I could remember the particular variety of Astrantia I bought. I have the original pot it came in and it will be written on that, I just have to find it in amongst the stacks of pots.

Overall, I have to be honest and say that I prefer the first Astrantia because it’s got such a amazing pink colour bleed. Of course, I am very happy with mine too but I am going to have to do a seed or plant swap at some stage so I can have the ones that I saw first, I don’t think any other Astrantia is going to cut it.

This year, I will be having another go at trying to get Astrantia to germinate, I have far less in the way of seeds and plants to over-winter this time (so far), so I should be able to give more attention and hopefully, be rewarded with a higher germination rate than the lone seedling I managed this year.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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susan maclean 08/07/2013 - 10:12 pm

I have a white one, planted below a yellow rose (Golden Showers) in my yellow and white border. Seems happy, and so I leave well alone. I have another with more pink in than yours, (or I did have) in a small bed near the house I have sadly neglected, so no sign of it this year amongst the grass. Hopefully, as I clear, it will get some air and get going again. Glad you found it though, I think it’s a rather nice and grateful plant.

Sunil 09/07/2013 - 8:47 pm

Hi Mrs Mac, there seem to be lots of different kinds, each having a slightly different colour/bleed mix. I hope your neglected one comes back otherwise you might be there for some time trying to raise a new one from the seeds of your existing one!

gardeninacity 08/07/2013 - 10:32 pm

I don’t have any Astrantia, but I can see it is a very pretty flower. At least you got one seedling, I’m sure next year you will get many more.

Sunil 09/07/2013 - 8:49 pm

Hello Jason, I’m going to have to pull my finger out and make sure I keep on top of the seed tray if I’m to end up with many more, as opposed to having one seedling per year.

Jean 09/07/2013 - 3:28 am

Sunil, I love Astrantia; but, like you, I have always wanted one that is a deeper pink. Somehow, no matter what variety I buy, when they come up in my garden, they are white with just the slightest hint of pink.

Sunil 09/07/2013 - 8:51 pm

Hi Jean, if you’re after more pink then I know Astrantia “Roma” has lots, there are others that have lost the white altogether but unfortunately, I can’t remember what they’re called. You’re going to have to buy them at the Garden Centre when they’re in flower just to be certain you don’t end up with another white one.

Alistair 09/07/2013 - 3:30 pm

Hi Sunil, I love astrantias and have quite a few of them in the garden, look out for one named Maxima I think you would like it. The leaves of ours have turned brown this year, I will do some research, I think it may have something to do with the very dry conditions this year.

Sunil 09/07/2013 - 8:56 pm

Hi Alistair, I search for “Astrantia Maxima” and it came up with your images of it! The star pattern of the petals is reminiscent of sunflowers. Talking of stars, Astrantia “Star of Billion” is one that I want to get, mainly because it has such a lovely name, but it has a very delicate colouring that I really like. I’ll have to put both on the shopping list!

Casa Mariposa 09/07/2013 - 10:14 pm

I love astrantia but don’t have any. It doesn’t like our heat/humidity. I like the pinker one, too. You’re brave to start them from seed. I would have just bought a few pots of the pink ones. If they’re tissue cultured, they might revert to a simpler form when grown from seed.

Sunil 09/07/2013 - 10:21 pm

Hi Tammy, they’re woodland plants so like slightly shady places and moist soils. They may even prefer cooler temperatures, like bleeding hearts. That doesn’t sound like the kind of place you live in! We’ll have to see about reversion etc from the seedling, but thanks for letting me know about that – I hadn’t thought of it before.

Lynn Hunt 10/07/2013 - 9:36 pm

I am not familiar with this plant Sunil, but it is very lovely. That pink one is a beauty — and your photo really does it justice. You are patient to plant the seeds. I tried a few Moonflowers this year but it doesn’t look like they will bloom before frost! My rose cuttings on the other hand, have done very well and are now blooming.

Sunil 11/07/2013 - 9:47 pm

Hello Lynn, Astrantia is a Cottage Garden stallwart so I had to have it in mine. I had to look up moon flower and saw that it looks very similar to bindweed I hope you don’t have that! We’ve got some that’s happily climbing into the cherry tree and beginning to smother a few other shrubs. It is pretty but terribly invasive. I can’t wait to try rose cuttings but I’ll have to wait for mine to grow a bit more first before trying, otherwise I’ll end up taking them back down to bare root size!


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