Aruncus goat’s beard

Height: 90-l80cm (3-6ft)

Planting di: stance: 60cm (2ft)

Features: flowers summer

Soil: deep, loamy, moist

Site: partial shade

Type: herbaceous

Goat’s beard is grown for its silky plumes of creamy white flowers which rise over and contrast gracefully with the hold, light to mid-green, compound leaves in early summer. Rough to the touch, the foliage is effective throughout the growing season. The seed heads, though poisonous, are also ornamental, but appear only on female plants.

A large, shrub-1 ike plant, goat’s beard is suitable either as a specimen or in association with other plants, perhaps in partial shade at the rear of a border. It looks particularly effective close to water.

Popular species and varieties:

Aruncus dioicus (syn. A. Sylvester, A. vulgaris) carries tall plumes of creamy white flowers up to 1.8m (6ft) above a clump of handsome, mid-green foliage.

‘Glasnevin’ (syn. A. plumosus ‘Glasnevin’) is a shorter, more compact form that reaches a more manageable height of 1.2m (4ft). The variety ‘Knciffii’ is even smaller, up to only 90cm (3ft) tall, and has finely divided, ferny leaves.


Plant goat’s beard from mid autumn to early spring in partial shade in deep, loamy, moist soil. Cut the stems down in mid autumn.

Propagation: Divide and replant in mid autumn, although roots and stems are rough and rather difficult to separate.

Pests and diseases: Sawfly larvae may eat holes in the leaves of goat’s beard, which often reduces them to skeletons of veins.

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