Astrantia major – Masterwort

Astrantia major (Masterwort) is a fantastic shade plant that I don’t feel gets enough credit for being as great as it is.

The flowers are made up of a ring of bracts which generally range from dark pink to light pink with small true flowers that may be light green, cream coloured or pink.

Astrantia major 'Dark Shiny Eyes'
Astrantia major ‘Dark Shiny Eyes’ – This cultivar has interesting flowers that start dark pink and lighten to a medium pink. The true flowers in the center are dark pink and light green which stands out well in the shade.

I grow mine directly on the north side of my fence where it gets maybe an hour of morning sun and indirect light at best the rest of the time and despite this low light it will still manage to flower for most of the summer. Flowers are lightly fragrant (you need to be pretty close to notice the fragrance) and held above the low mound of deeply cut leaves on tall branching stalks. There are also cultivars with green/yellow variegated leaves.

Naturally a woodland plant, Astrantia major will also grow in sunnier locations provided they are kept cool (avoid a west exposure!) with mulch and soil that will remain evenly moist. Plants will apparently self seed and may spread by runners but I have found it a very well behaved plant.

Grows to 24-36″ tall (including flowers, leaves form a lower mound, 18-24″) and 18-24″ wide and hardy to zone 4.

About Andrew

Plant lover living in Toronto, Canada where I grow a wide range of plants in a very small space.
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