The Plant Native

Goatsbeard

Highlights

Wow—what a crazy common name for a gorgeous native flower! Goatsbeard thrives in a wide variety of places—part-shade and full-shade gardens work well. Their white frothy blooms emerge in the late spring/early summer, from May to July. Naturally grown in forests, Goatbeard loves a blanket of mulch to keep it thriving. Scroll on for planting tips! 

Part Sun – Full Shade
Up to 6′ tall
Long-time bloomer
Aruncus dioicus
Goatsbeard is absolutely stunning in landscaping!

Dig Deeper

Explore the history, types, and where to plant native Goatsbeard

Table of Contents

Why is it important to plant native plants like Goatsbeard?

Planting native plants makes our yards and spaces gorgeous while helping the birds, butterflies, and animals (and helping save us time!) Here are three reasons why planting native is worth it:

  1. Without native plants, iconic animals like Monarch butterflies and songbirds won’t have the food or homes needed to survive
  2. Native plants save time and money: after the first year of getting established, native plants are happy with rain
  3. Native plants are gorgeous! Goatsbeard is a perfect example of how beautiful and resilient native plants are—they are always the best choice for our gardens.

Where can I plant Goatsbeard?

Goatsbeard is great for edges,  borders, or paired with other native companions in a part-sun garden. 

Tulip shaped leaves on a Tulip Poplar in the fall

What type of sun does Goatsbeard like?

Choose a spot with moist, well-drained soil, and this hardy perennial will thank you. Opt for a mix of sun and shade—just no full, blazing sun. This native beauty is a flexible companion, adapting to various garden conditions.

What care does Goatsbeard need?

Goatsbeard is a low-maintenance companion in your garden journey. Once established, it thrives with minimal care. Regular watering, especially during dry spells, and a layer of mulch around the base are simple steps to ensure its well-being. As a native plant, it’s well-suited to the local environment.

Any challenges with planting Goatsbeard?

While Goatsbeard is generally robust, like any plant, it appreciates a little attention during its first year. (The care needed during the first year of a plant’s life in a new spot is called getting established.) Ensuring proper soil moisture during its establishment phase is key—in other words, during the first year of planting water it during dry spells. Beyond that, it will be happy with rain and come back year after year.

The range of Goatsbeard is huge! Any blue or orange region is OK to plant. Map from USDA.

Where is Goatsbeard native?

Goatsbeard to a wide range of North America. It is native to the coasts of both the US and Canada, from Maine down to Arkansas, and from Washington to California.

According to the US Forest Service, Goatsbeard even grows in Alaska! “In south-central and southeastern Alaska, goatsbeard grows abundantly in forest edges and along roads and railroad embankments.”

What are good pairings for Goatsbeard?

There are SO MANY great pairings for Goatsbeard! Fantastic native flowers to plant alongside include Alumroot, Wild Columbine, Indian Pink, and Coral Honeysuckle.

Native flower pairings
Heuchera 'Green-Spice' by Patrick Standish

Alum Root (Heuchera)

coral-honeysuckle-with-a-hummingbird-native-vine

Coral Honeysuckle

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Indian Pink

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Red Columbine

Native shrub and tree pairings

Any other native plants that have crazy names?

Oh, we are so glad you asked! There are lots of other native plants that have crazy common names (common names are the names generations before gave the plants they encountered.) Some particularly creative named native plants include:

Read our quick round-up of terrible names, beautiful native plants for more.

In conclusion…

Goatsbeard is a fantastic native plant that looks gorgeous and requires minimal work—especially compared to lawns. It thrives in a wide range of places, making it perfect for beginner gardeners. As long as you don’t plant it in full, blazing sun, it should do fine. Because it’s a perennial, plant it once and it will come back, year after year.

Make sure you add a nametag to the garden, as everyone will want to say hello to this charming native flower.

Next steps and resources:

UPDATED —
02/19/2024
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