The goat's beard plant (Aruncus dioicus) is a pretty plant with an unfortunate name. It is related to other common perennials we grow in the garden, such the spirea shrub and meadowsweet. Its appearance is similar to the elegant astilbe. A member of the rose family, it is obvious how it came by the name of goat's beard plant, but the name does not describe its beauty. Goat's beard plant was around during Roman days and earned the name of Aruncus goat's beard. It was named by Pliny during that era. It is also native to Japan and North America. As with many native plants, it is easy to learn how to care for goat's beard.
Goat's Beard in the Garden
Aruncus goat's beard provides tall, fluffy, creamy white blooms in late spring to early summer, brightening shady spots. Grow goat's beard in the garden as a background plant, as a center feature in an island garden or even as a screen to block a view. Goat's beard is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 7. Grow goat's beard in shade in the south and full sun in more northern areas. Goat's beard in gardens is adaptable to only partial shade in some areas but needs to be planted where it gets afternoon shade in hotter areas. Remember to leave plenty of room when planting Aruncus goat's beard. It can grow to 6 feet (2 m.) across. Height of goat's beard plant is 3 to 6 feet (1-2 m.).
Care for Aruncus
When learning how to care for goat's beard, begin with planting in the right spot. Choose a location with the right sun exposure for your area. Make sure the soil is well draining and retains moisture. For soil with too much clay or sand, add amendments before planting. Since care for Aruncus includes providing consistent moisture and rich soil, it is easier to plant Aruncus goat's beard in the right soil from the beginning. Goat's beard in the garden can be used as part of a white garden design or as a complimentary background for colorful spring and summer blossoms. Care is simple when planted in the right place and blooms are long lasting. Give this friendly native a spot in your shady garden bed.
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Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.
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