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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Astrantia major Rubra; a Rewarding Perennial

My test garden is starting to show results. The Astrantia that I planted last fall bloomed magnificently in early summer. The deep red was a welcome color addition to the garden and it seemed to blend well with other colors that bloomed at the same time. This is a versatile dark red with sufficient illumination to be seen from a distance. The blooms are neat, growing on upright stems that stand tall and never need staking. The staying power of these flowers is a bonus. They seemed to bloom for quite some time before waning, and when they do, their dried heads are ornamental. I was reluctant to cut them down. Even without dead heading, this perennial is now giving me another surge of blooms for end-August. What a surprise!

This perennial grows 18 to 24 inches high and 12 to 18 wide from late spring through early summer in moist, rich, well drained soil, in sun to part shade in zones 4 to 7. This is a delightful looking yet unusual perennial that is also long lasting as a cut flower. The trick is to harvest them when the upper most buds on the branch just begin to open.

The flower heads of this plant are rather small. They measure only one and a half inches in diameter. That is why some gardeners suggest planting Astrantia closer to the front of the flower bed where they will be appreciated. In my own experience, this perennial is tall enough to generate color that can be seen from the middle of the bed, as well.

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