Astrantia major 'Rubra'
- available to order from late spring
- 2 litre pot
- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: fertile, moist, preferably humus-rich soil
- Rate of growth: average to fast
- Flowering period: June to August
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Small, papery, plum-coloured, pincushion-like flowers surrounded by a ruff of wine-tinted bracts, are produced from June to August above deeply lobed, dark green leaves. Although it is an old cottage-garden favourite, this astrantia works equally well in contemporary-style plantings. Use it towards the front of a sunny, yet moist border. Astrantias do not like dry soil. The faded blooms are best cut back close to the ground to prolong flowering.
Astrantias have been cultivated in Britain since the 16th century and have numerous common names, such as melancholy gentleman, Hatties pincushion and the more well known masterwort.
- Garden care: Incorporate plenty of organic matter when planting and water well in dry weather especially newly established plants. Lift and divide large clumps in early spring and apply a generous 5-7 cm mulch of well-rotted manure or garden compost around the plant. Divided specimens may take some time to establish since they dont like having their roots disturbed.