In the natural garden, the masterwort plant (Astrantia) is more fashionable than ever.
Thanks to its manifold floral talents, the masterwort has become a very popular summer perennial.
The following answers to frequently asked questions will tell you everything you need to know to plant and care for frugal astrantia.
Spring and late summer are planting times for masterwort. Choose the location wisely, as a masterwort will easily linger for 10 years or more in partial shade locations with fresh, moist, humus-rich soil.
While you prepare the soil fine crumbly, soak the potted root ball in the water.
This is how the professional planting continues:
- At intervals of 20-24 inches (50-60 cm), create spacious planting pits with 1.5 times the volume of the root ball.
- Enrich the excavation with sifted compost, horn shavings, and a little vital lime.
- Insert a potted root ball into each planting hole, maintaining the previous planting depth.
It is beneficial for the vitality and abundance of the plant if you mulch the soil with leaves, grass clippings, or bark mulch after watering.
Proper care of a masterwort is based on a few straightforward measures. The following is a brief overview of how to get the most out of a masterwort plant:
- Never allow the root ball to dry out.
- After the first flush of flowers, cut an astrantia back 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) above the ground.
- Fertilize organically in spring and after the first cutback.
- In the fall, cut off the wilted after-flowering to prevent seeding.
- Alternatively, cut the masterwort close to the ground in February to make room for sprouting.
Winter protection is only necessary for perennials in planters to prevent the root ball from freezing through in the exposed position.
Place containers or balcony boxes on wood in front of the south wall of the house. You also want to wrap the container with jute, foil, or garden fleece.
Which Location is Suitable for the Masterwort?
A masterwort forms a congenial partnership with woody plants and ornamental shrubs.
Since it prefers a semi-shady location, a masterwort unfolds its natural beauty to perfection at the edge of a woody plant, in a perennial bed, or rose bed.
The sunnier the location, the more moisture the soil should contain. In addition, the summer perennial prefers to stretch its roots in loose, humic, and calcareous soil.
The Right Planting Distance for Masterwort
The broad bushy habit of an Astrantia requires a generous plant spacing. In order to show off a flower-rich asterisk to its best advantage, we recommend a distance of 20 to 24 inches (50 to 60 cm) from the neighboring bed for the popular great masterwort (Astrantia major).
Smaller species and varieties, such as the lesser masterwort (Astrantia minor), are decorative at a distance of 16 to 18 inches (40 to 45 cm).
What Soil Does the Masterwort Need?
The soil requirements of the masterwort hold no surprises. The masterwort thrives without problems in any normal garden soil, which is humic, fresh-moist, and loosely structured.
The substrate may gladly be a little chalky, so add a handful of vital lime or rock flour to commercial potting soil.
When is Flowering Time for the Masterwort?
The summer umbellifer spoils us with a colorful blooming twice a season. After an astrantia presented its pretty starry flowers in June and July, another flush of blooms follows in September after pruning.
Enjoy a picturesque appearance with hemispherical flowers reminiscent of a filigree pincushion, star-shaped framed by delicate bracts. The pinnate and toothed foliage is no less attractive.
Pruning the Masterwort Properly
To take full advantage of a masterwort’s floral talents, proper pruning at the right time plays an important role.
The following overview shows when and how to use pruning shears on an astrantia:
- Cutting flowers for the vase, bouquets and as a dried flowers: Cut just opened umbel flowers in the morning hours.
- Pruning for repeat bloom: In August, cut Astrantia back 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) above ground level.
- Preventing seeding: After the second bloom, cut off wilted flower stalks to just above the foliage.
- Main pruning: Cut back close to the ground in late winter, in time before fresh shoots.
If the overgrowth of an Astrantia is desired in a naturalistic garden, simply leave the wilted umbel flowers on the plant. The perennial will take care of the rest on its own.
Watering the Masterwort
In the wild, the masterwort is found mostly in meadows and wetlands, because it doesn’t do well in dry conditions.
Therefore, water the summer beauty abundantly and regularly, without waterlogging. Where the rain participates in the water supply in the bed, you will need to use your watering can less often than in the airy container substrate.
Fertilizing the Masterwort Properly
A balanced supply of nutrients lays the foundation for lush blooms and gorgeous foliage.
Ideally, you should fertilize a masterwort in March/April with mature compost, horn shavings, and a little rock flour.
After summer pruning, another dose of organic fertilizer provides a valuable jump-start for post-blooming.
If you cultivate the masterwort in a pot, apply a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants every 3 weeks from May to August.
Wintering the Masterwort
The masterwort is completely hardy in our latitudes, so you don’t need to take explicit precautions in the bed.
On the contrary, the masterwort in turn acts as overwintering protection for numerous beneficial insects.
Since the root ball in the pot is more susceptible to frosty temperatures, place the container on wood and wrap it in bubble wrap if you have a frosty winter in your area.
Propagating the Masterwort
In spring, you can propagate the masterwort wonderfully uncomplicated by means of division.
After pruning, dig up the Astrantia and shake off all the soil. Place the root ball on a stable base and divide it in half with a knife or spade.
Further division is also possible if desired. As long as a segment has at least 2 buds, it will turn into an adult perennial within a short time.
In a semi-shaded location in loose, moist, humus-rich soil, plant the segments 20-24 inches (50-60 cm) apart, maintaining the previous planting depth if possible.
Is the masterwort poisonous?
The masterwort poses no health risk to humans or animals. The umbellifer is therefore not only recommended for the idyllic design of near-natural beds.
Moreover, it is a valuable part of the multifaceted family garden, where children and pets can romp carefree.
- Abbey Road: A magnificent Astrantia with dark purple flowers in summer and fall. The height of growth is 24-31 inches (60-80 cm).
- Florence: A richly flowering Astrantia in iridescent colors from silvery to pink to lavender. The height of growth is 16-24 inches (40-60 cm).
- Princesse Strudza: This Astrantia captivates with silvery-white flowers, which grow up to 2 inches (5 cm). The height of growth is 20-24 inches (50-60 cm).
- Rose Symphony: The lush flowering great masterwort unfolds flower dreams in light pink to red. The growth height is 28 inches (70 cm).
- Sunningdale Variegated: Beneath pink flowers, the foliage turns from cream to green to yellow-brown in fall.