Astrantia major 'Claret'
great black masterwort
- 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
This is one of the darkest-flowered astrantias, with deep, ruby red pincushion-like flowers with a ruff of longer bracts than many other varieties. The leaves are pretty too, being deeply lobed and dark green. Although it is an old cottage-garden favourite, this astrantia works equally well in contemporary-style plantings. Use towards the front of a sunny, reliably moist border, where the flower colour can be fully appreciated.
Astrantias have been cultivated in Britain since the 16th century and have numerous common names, such as melancholy gentleman, Hattie's pincushion and the more well-known masterwort.
- Garden care: Astrantias do not like to dry out. 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 5-7cm mulch of well-rotted manure or garden compost around the plant. Divided specimens may take some time to establish since they don't like having their roots disturbed.