Dwarf goat's beard

An easy-to-grow herbaceous perennial
RELATED TOPICS: PERENNIAL | ZONE 3 | ZONE 4 | ZONE 5 | ZONE 6 | ZONE 8 | ZONE 7 | ZONE 9
goats_beard
Nancy Norris
Common name: Dwarf goat’s beard
Latin name: Aruncus aethusifolius
Plant type: Perennial
USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Cultural needs: Rich, moist, well-drained soil in sun, part shade, or full shade
Plant size: 8-12" high and wide
This easy-to-grow herbaceous perennial is also called dwarf Korean goat’s beard. It’s a ferny-looking plant, intolerant of dry soil, so most gardeners grow it in part shade, especially in southern regions. In the photo, seedlings have wandered from the parent (upper left) and sprouted in poor soil, actually the gravelly ballast in the Altman’s Radishbahn in Ontario, Canada. Leaves look a bit yellow and small—not a bad thing for our railroads. Seedlings can be transplanted to a more permanent place, but they grow slowly so another year in this location will not obscure much. Leaves are deeply dissected, giving them a smaller appearance. Each plant forms a clump, and mounds to only 4-6" high. Railroad gardeners can take advantage of the habit of dwarf goat’s beard and allow it to spread out and fill in shaded areas where ferns might grow. If grown in the sun during autumn, leaves will turn a rich, rustic red. In late spring, branched, narrow stalks bear small ivory flowers. Leaving the stalks until fall, they’ll turn a reddish color; here in August they’re mostly green, just starting to show some red. While definitely not a focal point, dwarf goat’s beard does a great job as a filler plant, preventing taller weeds from getting started.

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