A number of years ago a friend of mine gave me two plants in paper cups. One was a Goat’s Beard (aruncus) and I had no clue what to do with it. She’d always provided me with great perennials in the past, and she said it would do well in my abandoned vegetable garden, which Id relocated to a larger space. Now my Goats Beard comes up faithfully every spring and gets to be about six feet tall! They remind me of Astilbe on steroids. I love spiky plants, so this gives me one that blooms early in the summer.
They have lovely white, airy spires of blooms in early summer. It’s one of my favorite perennials (don’t tell the others). I’ve read that they prefer sun, but mine gets morning sun only and seems very happy. The soil is heavily composted and moist. I used to dump leaves from my neighbor’s lawn, so it’s heavily composted.
Not only are Goats Beard beautiful, but they are also native plants, which means they grow wild or naturally in many areas. Native plants are being pushed out by hybridized and imports, so you’ll be helping maintain your native habitat by growing them. Butterflies love them and seeing a Blue Swallowtail on the white puffs of blossoms is truly magical.
My advice to potential growers is:
1. Mine took a couple of years to become established, it was a baby. You can purchase a larger one so it will grow sooner.
3. Be sure to give it lots of room. Mine now covers an area of garden about four to five feet in diameter, as I said, is quite tall.
4. It will need at least four hours of sunlight. Morning sun is usually best as it’s not so intense on hot days and the soil won’t dry out as quickly.
5. Give it plenty of compost and mulch the soil about six inches on top. I prefer cedar, but we have a lot of pine trees, so I use that too.
6. Make sure the soil is rich, loamy and remains evenly moist. Last year was very dry, so the Goat’s Beard and ferns died back early, but I know they’ll be back. They are very tough and hardy perennials.
If you’re looking for a lush, tall plant with beautiful white late spring or early summer blooms, try a Goat’s Beard, I’m fairly certain you’ll be happy that you did.