Astrantia [Ast-ran-tee-a] is a genus in the Apiaceae family. These herbaceous plants are native to Europe and the Caucasus.
There are around nine different species of this plant; all of them have decorative flowers, palmate leaves, and aromatic roots.
The different varieties of this plant include
- Astrantia Major ‘Shaggy’
- Astrantia Major ‘Abbey Road’
- Astrantia Maxima ‘Hadspen Blood’
- Astrantia major ‘Roma’
- Astrantia ‘Lars’
- Astrantia ‘Buckland’
The common names of this plant include:
- Great Masterwort
- Hattie’s Pincushion
- Melancholy Gentleman
- Major Masterwort
Astrantia Masterwort Plant Care
Size & Growth
These plants grow around 2’ feet long and come in a range of beautiful colors.
The leaves of this plant bear a resemblance to carrots or Italian parsley, which isn’t surprising since Astrantia and carrots are from the same family.
The green leaves of the plant are 3” to 6” inches long and are palmately cut in 3 to 7 toothed lobes.
Flowering and Fragrance
The ruby red flowers or white flowers produced by these plants are rather unique looking.
They are grouped in tightly-packed florets, surrounded with petal-shaped bracts – making the flowers look like a firework or a star.
These flowers sprout on top of 24” inch tall leafless stems.
You’ll find some varieties producing different colors such as Buckland which has pink flowers or the Claret with deep red colors.
The bloom time of Astrantia is usually from mid-to-late summer.
These perennials look charming with branched heads of pincushion flowers bordered with a ruff of papery white bracts.
The umbels look great used as cut flowers.
Light & Temperature
The Masterwort plant prefers to grow in the full sun with regular watering.
However, the plant is rather adaptable and will grow well in part shade.
Ideally, place this plant where it gets a few hours of full sun and partial shade the rest of the day.
It grows its best in cottage gardens.
Make sure you provide it proper shade from the scorching sun.
The USDA hardiness zone for this plant is 4 to 9.
The plants tolerate the harsh winters and different growing conditions but won’t fare well in combined humidity and heat.
Watering and Feeding
This plant needs moist soil to thrive and prevent potential diseases.
Make sure to water it regularly throughout the drought period; otherwise, it will start wilting.
The soil mixture must be kept evenly moist since the Astrantia plant won’t survive long periods in dry soil.
Increase the frequency of water during hot early summers.
Fertilize the plant once or twice each year with a balanced fertilizer.
Mulch the plant with compost or leaf mulch for optimal growth.
Soil & Transplanting
The Astrantia plants grow well in heavy clay growing mixture.
However, they prefer loamy, lightly rich, and slightly acidic soil.
Ensure the mix is well-draining as the plants won’t survive in standing water.
Add in dried leaves, compost, or coffee grounds in the mixture to increase the organic nutrients.
The coffee grounds also help in increasing the acidity of the soil.
Grooming and Maintenance
The best way to rejuvenate the plant is to cut it back almost to the ground after flowering.
You will witness a lush new foliage growth and late flowers soon after.
Be sure to divide the plant after four or five years in the fall or late spring season.
You may leave the flowerheads to overwinter to add a beautiful architectural effect.
However, these plants are known as prolific self-seeders.
Therefore, it might be ideal to deadhead the flowers.
It will also encourage new buds.
To collect the seeds, leave a few flowers at the end of the blooming period, and collect the seeds.
How to Propagate Astrantia Plant
The propagation of Astrantia Rubra, Alba, and other varieties is done using seeds or divisions.
Divide the plants by digging up a mature clump during early fall or early spring.
Be sure to use a spade by thrusting it deep in the clump.
The two halves of the bareroot clump should then be replanted in their permanent positions.
To propagate with seeds, you will need to perform a cold stratification of the seeds in the fall season for the germination process.
After they are cold treated, place them in the soil and keep them warm.
The older the seeds are, the longer will be the germination.
Astrantia Plant Pest or Diseases
The Masterwort plant doesn’t suffer from any severe disease or pest issues.
However, be on a lookout for slugs and aphids, which are fond of its leaves.
Moreover, the plan might get affected by powdery mildew.
Astrantia Masterwort Uses
Astrantia Involucrata make excellent groundcover with other plants.
They also look stunning when planted under the trees, in borders, on stream banks, and in woodland gardens.
The flowers of these plants make long-lasting floral arrangements and make great cut flowers.
The rhizomes and stems of these plants are also used for medicinal purposes.
The essential oil extracted from them is utilized as a stomachic.
The leaves are dried and added in herbal medicines to work as an infusion to assist in stimulating appetite and helping with digestion.