Will astilbe thrive under my Norway Maple at the outer edges where I can dig?
Will astilbe thrive under my Norway Maple at the outer edges where I can dig ? I’d like to place them between hostas that are thriving.
It sounds like you are at least somewhat familiar with the challenges of growing other plants beneath Norway Maples. The trees send out a dense, fibrous, shallow root network that promotes dry soil and poor nutrient retention in the zone where your perennials are planted. Moreover, the dense canopy is suitable only for shade-tolerant or -loving species.
Fortunately, hostas have no trouble with shade and are pretty tolerant of poor, dry soil, so that’s a good selection and I’m glad they’re thriving for you. While the astilbe can also tolerate the shade, they are less tolerant of the attendant poor soil conditions under the tree. I would hesitate to invest any significant amount of money in trying it, though if you really love astilbe you could always try a test plant to see how it does.
Sturdy groundcovers can often be a good choice here; Bergenia (aka Pigsqueak) is a lovely Maine native that I would recommend. It won’t grow quite as tall as the astilbe, but it does put up pretty upright flower stalks in red, pink, or white, thus giving you the texture you’re looking for between the hostas and splashes of color.