Content Detail

Goat’s beard is a native, colony-forming perennial for the back of the border shade garden. The tall, erect, creamy-white plumes of flowers appear above the fern-like foliage in mid-summer.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily), Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Occasional flooding
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Round, Thicket-forming, Upright
  • Growth rate Slow


Goat’s beard is upright and spreading reaching four to six feet high and wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to North America, Europe and Asia. C-Value: 10

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

Birds, butterflies, and other pollinators are attracted to Goat’s beard.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

It has light green alternate leaves that are two to three feet long and pinnately compound. Each lanceolate-shaped leaflet is two to four inches long and has doubly-toothed margins. Goat’s beard and Astilbe leaves are similar.

Flower arrangement size and shape:

Goat’s beard has feathery spikes of creamy white flowers that form large panicles in early summer. Flowers eventually fade to rusty brown and add winter interest to the garden. It is dioecious with male and female flowers on separate plants. Male flowers are upright and typically showier with more numerous stamens. Female flowers tend to droop.

Fruit, cone, nut and seed descriptions:

They have follicles with two to four seeds.

Plant care:

It grows best in part shade to full shade in moist, humus-rich soil. This perennial will grow in full sun with adequate moisture. It prefers cool summers. It is slow to establish and difficult to transplant because of its dense, fibrous root system. You can remove faded flowers to improve appearance.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance:

There aren’t any serious pest problems. Occasionally it gets leaf spot.  Goat’s beard is deer and rabbit resistant.

Korean Goat’s Beard (Aruncus aethusifolius):

A dwarf cultivar that is 10 to 12 inches high and 12 to 18 inches wide. It has deeply cut dark green leaves with creamy white flowers. It is native to Korea.

Horatis Goat’s Beard (Aruncus ‘Horatis’):

A cross between A. aethusifolius x A. dioicus. It’s compact, dwarf form grows three to four feet high and wide. It produces creamy white flowers.

Misty Lace Goat’s Beard (Aruncus ‘Misty Lace’):

A dwarf cultivar that is one and a half to two feet high and two feet wide. It has ferny foliage and produces creamy white flowers.

Kneiffii Goat’s Beard (Aruncus ‘Kneiffii’):

This cultivar is three feet tall. It’s foliage is thread-like and blooms are creamy white.


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