Masterwort Astrantia major 'Primadonna'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care


The Astrantia major 'Primadonna', commonly known as Great Masterwort, boasts a unique and captivating appearance. Its flowers are perhaps its most defining feature, consisting of intricately structured blossoms that resemble delicate pincushions surrounded by a starry collar of bracts. These flowers have a subtle yet enchanting beauty, with shades that can vary from a pale pink to a deep magenta hue. The bloom structure gives the flowers depth and texture that draws the eye and adds an element of sophistication to the plant. Supporting the striking flowers, the plant displays a lush mound of deeply lobed, palmate leaves. The foliage is typically a rich green, creating a dense and attractive backdrop that complements its floral display. The leaves themselves are arranged in a basal rosette, from which the flower stems rise to present the blossoms aloft. The texture of the leaves is slightly rough with a fine, serrated edge giving them a somewhat frothy appearance that pairs well with the delicate flowers. The Great Masterwort blooms throughout the summer months, offering a long season of visual interest. It's also worth noting that the inflorescences are not only visually appealing but are also attractive to a variety of pollinators, adding to the dynamic presence of the plant in a garden setting. In summary, the Astrantia major 'Primadonna' presents a charming and elegant appearance with its star-like flowers and lush foliage, making it a standout addition to any garden that does not demand attention through size but rather through its subtle, intrinsic beauty.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Great Masterwort, Hattie's Pincushion, Melancholy Gentleman

    • Common names

      Astrantia major 'Primadonna'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Masterwort is generally not considered toxic to humans. Ingesting parts of Masterwort is unlikely to cause poisoning or serious health consequences. However, as with any plant, it's possible for individuals to have an allergic reaction or sensitivity, so it's advisable to avoid ingesting it if its effects are not well known.

    • To pets

      Masterwort is also generally safe for pets and is not known to be toxic to animals. Ingestion of this plant by pets is unlikely to result in poisoning. Nonetheless, individual animals may have sensitivities or allergic reactions to plants that are ordinarily considered non-toxic, so it's prudent to monitor pets if they ingest any plant material.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2 feet (0.6 meters)

    • Spread

      1.5 feet (0.45 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attractive Flowers: Produces beautiful star-shaped blooms that enhance garden aesthetics.
    • Long Blooming Period: Offers a long flowering season from early summer to early fall.
    • Pollinator Friendly: Attracts bees and butterflies, supporting local ecosystems.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal care once established, making it ideal for busy gardeners.
    • Deer and Rabbit Resistant: Less likely to be damaged by deer and rabbits, which can be beneficial in areas where wildlife browsing is a problem.
    • Cut Flower: The blooms make excellent cut flowers for arrangements and bouquets.
    • Drought Tolerant: Once established, it can tolerate dry conditions, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Shade Tolerant: Can grow well in partially shaded areas where other flowers may not thrive.
    • Herbaceous Perennial: Comes back year after year without the need for replanting.
    • Versatile Planting Options: Suitable for borders, cottage gardens, and meadows or can be planted in pots and containers.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Astrantia major 'Primadonna', also known as Great Masterwort, can be used as a natural dye for fabrics, yielding subtle hues of green and yellow depending on the mordant used.
    • Dried seed heads of Great Masterwort can be incorporated into potpourri mixes to add texture and visual interest.
    • The sturdy stems and distinctive blooms of Great Masterwort make it a popular choice for use in artisanal handicrafts, such as floral wreaths or dried flower arrangements.
    • Gardeners may use the dense, clumping growth habit of Great Masterwort to create natural garden borders or as ground cover to reduce soil erosion on slopes.
    • The subtle scent of Great Masterwort flowers can be used to enhance the fragrance of natural perfumes when combined with other floral essences.
    • Pressed flower enthusiasts often include the unique star-shaped flowers of Great Masterwort in their craft due to their intricate patterns and lasting color.
    • In a wildlife-friendly garden, the flowers of Great Masterwort can provide a nectar source for beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.
    • Great Masterwort's foliage can be used as a green filler in live floral arrangements to provide contrast and support to more delicate flowers.
    • Photographers may use the plant as a subject or backdrop in garden photography thanks to its intricate bloom structure and soft color palette.
    • Educators may use Great Masterwort in botany classes to demonstrate plant characteristics such as umbel flower structure, leaf shape, and plant habit.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Masterwort is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Masterwort is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Mystery and Intrigue: With its unique star-shaped blooms and hidden depth, the Great Masterwort often symbolizes things that are not immediately apparent or that hold some secret beauty.
    • Protection: Traditionally, Great Masterwort was believed to have medicinal properties, making it a symbol of protection against physical and spiritual harm.
    • Perseverance: The ability to thrive in shady conditions and its durability make the Great Masterwort a symbol of perseverance and resilience.
    • Connection: The umbel pattern of the flowers, with smaller blooms interconnected, represents our connection to the universe and to each other.
    • Unity: The intricate pattern of the flower can be seen to symbolize unity and togetherness, reflecting its harmonious blend of color and form in the garden.

Every week to ten days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Late spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Masterwort should be watered regularly to maintain moist soil, especially during dry spells in the growing season, typically around once a week. Water deeply with about 1 to 1.5 inches of water each time to encourage root growth. In the absence of rain, aim to provide approximately 1 gallon of water per square foot every week. During the winter months, you can reduce watering as the plant's water needs decrease.

  • sunLight

    Masterwort thrives in partial shade to full sun. The ideal location would provide morning sunlight and afternoon shade, ensuring that the plant gets enough light without being exposed to the harsh midday sun. Filtered sunlight beneath open canopies of trees is also suitable for this plant.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Masterwort prefers temperate conditions and can typically withstand temperatures as low as 25°F and as high as 75°F. The ideal growing temperature range for this plant is between 65°F and 70°F. Protection from extreme cold and frost is necessary to prevent damage to the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Masterwort benefits from pruning to remove spent flower stems and encourage bushier growth. Prune immediately after flowering to tidy up the plant and potentially stimulate a second bloom. The best time for pruning is late summer or early fall, just as the flowers start to fade.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Masterwort (Astrantia major 'Primadonna') thrives best in a rich, moist, well-draining soil with a pH of 5.8 to 6.5. A good soil mix for masterwort would contain garden loam, compost, and a small amount of sand to ensure drainage. Mulching can help retain moisture and provide nutrients as it decomposes.

  • plantRepotting

    Masterwort typically does not require frequent repotting and can be left undisturbed for several years. Repot it only when you see signs of overcrowding or the plant outgrows its current container, which might be every 3-5 years, depending on its growth rate and conditions.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Masterwort prefers moderate to high humidity levels but is quite adaptable and can tolerate the lower humidity levels often found in average home environments. Ensure good air circulation to mimic natural breezy conditions which is beneficial for its growth.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place masterwort in bright, indirect light and keep soil moist.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, mulch regularly, and keep soil moist.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The great masterwort 'Primadonna' begins its life cycle with seed germination, normally in early spring after the last frost when the soil is moist and temperatures are mild. Seedlings emerge and develop into a rosette of leaves as they establish a root system. As the plant matures, it sends up flowering stems in late spring to summer, displaying intricate, starry flowers that attract pollinators. After flowering and pollination, seeds develop and are dispersed in late summer or fall, sometimes with the help of animals or wind. The plant typically dies back to the ground in winter, surviving the cold months as a dormant rootstock or clump. With the return of warmer weather in spring, the great masterwort resumes growth from the existing rootstock, completing its perennial cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late spring to early summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagating Astrantia major 'Primadonna', commonly known as Masterwort, is by division. This is typically done in the spring or early fall when the plant is not in active bloom. To propagate by division, carefully lift the entire plant from the ground using a garden fork, trying to keep the root ball intact. Once out of the ground, use a sharp knife or spade to divide the root ball into smaller sections, ensuring that each section has several growth points or shoots. Replant the divisions immediately at the same depth they were growing previously, spacing them about 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 centimeters) apart to allow room for growth. Water the new plants thoroughly to help establish them. Through this method, Masterwort can be effectively multiplied, maintaining the health and vigor of the parent plant.