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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Astilbe ‘Mighty Pip': New for 2011

Posted by Graham Rice on 20 Jan 2011 at 08:01 PM

Astilbe,chinensis,Mighty Pip,Hayloft,Suttons. Image © Visions BVIn recent years, astilbes seem to have been getting smaller and smaller, but this brand new introduction takes things in a new direction: it’s not a neat little plant for the front of the border, instead it makes a tall and imposing plant for closer to the back.

Astilbe chinensis ‘Mighty Pip’ (left, click to enlarge) reaches about 1.2m/4ft in height, sometimes a little more, with boldly divided, dark green foliage which may be gently tinted in bronze, especially along the edges.

In July and August the whole plant is topped with upright plumes of pink flowers. Each plume is relatively narrow, and its branches strike upwards creating a noticeably vertical look to the display. The individual buds are dark pink, opening to a softer, slightly salmony shade as they mature.

Like all astilbes, ‘Mighty Pip’ is not happy in dry soil. But given a soil which rarely dries out and in full sun, or perhaps just a little shade, it will soon develop into a striking specimen. And while some astilbes develop a very tight and compact crown, ‘Mighty Pip’ develops short runners so it spreads more quickly than other types.

‘Mighty Pip’ can be grown in a containers, as in the picture, but in a container needs so much watering that it’s far wiser to grow it towards the back of a border. For use as cut flowers, snip the plumes when they’re about half open; they can also be dried.

You can order Astilbe ‘Mighty Pip’ from Hayloft Plants and from Suttons.
Image © Visions BV, with thanks to Hayloft Plants.

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