Basic information about Aruncus. Includes Origin, Growing & Cultivation, Common Pests & Diseases, Interesting Facts & Uses, and Garden Design Tips.
The botanical name, Aruncus, was given by the Roman naturalist Pliny.
The common name, Goatsbeard, refers to the flowers’ white plume.
Most plants in the genus are native to Northern Europe, Asia, and North America. The dwarf Korean variety, A. aethusifolius, is native to Korea.
Growing and Cultivation
Aruncus prefers partial shade and rich, consistently moist soil. Not a good choice for dry shade, as it needs regular moisture and will need to be watered every week if rain does not appear – they should not be allowed to dry out. The spent flower stalks can be cut back when done blooming to tidy the plant, but it will not cause additional blooming. It’s recommended to cut the stems back to the ground in fall, and to mulch with compost, well-rotted manure, or tree leaves.
Common Pests and Diseases
Aruncus does not have any significant pest or disease problems. Sometimes tarnished plant bugs or fly larvae (caterpillar-like worms) show up to eat the leaves, but these can be picked off and drowned in water with a few drops of dish soap added, or treated with pesticides.
This plant is also both rabbit and deer-resistant – they prefer not to eat it.
Interesting Facts and Uses
Flowers can be used as filler in fresh arrangements, or stalks can be left on the plant to enjoy the dried seed plumes in fall (cut for dried arrangements or will encourage self-seeding).
Fall color on the dwarf Korean variety, A. aethusifolius, is spectacular – shades of yellow, orange and red turn the ferny leaves into fiery lacework.
A. aethusifolius has been awarded the UK Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, a rigorous trial and assessment program. It was tested for:
- Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
- Available to buy
- Of good constitution
- Essentially stable in form & color
- Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases
Aruncus blossoms will also attract butterflies, making it a good addition to a pollinator-friendly garden.
Garden Design Tips
Most Aruncus species are quite big and tall; therefore make excellent backdrops for other garden plants. The dwarf Korean variety, A. aethusifolius, works well in a mixed border or as an edging plant. They complement Astilbe, Aconitum (Monkshood), irises, Aquilegia (Columbine), ferns, bluebells, Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium), bloodroot, wild Geraniums and Trillium.
To purchase Aruncus, please visit our Shade Companion Plants Page.