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Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

Posted by rouge21 5b (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 0:12

I may be showing my inexperience with this plant as I have never had any in my garden (we do have a couple Astilbe). Both plants grow in similar conditions i.e.shade and it appears to me from pictures that Goat`s Beard doesn`t offer much more than possibly height over a white flowering Astilbe?

For those of you that have experience with both how do you compare and contrast these plants?

This post was edited by rouge21 on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 7:56


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

Hummm...I may not be the one to comment on this, since I don't particularly like Astilbe or find them very attractive. They are sort of unnatural to me (yeah, I know- they are about as natural as they come, lol). The heads on Aruncus are more airy, less dense, and not as strictly vertical as Astilbe, making them more "natural" to my eye somehow. Strange, I know! Lol.

I don't have the large Aruncus dioicus, but rather the small A. aethusifolius that only gets to be about 1x1ft. Have had it a number of years and LOVE it. It has dark green ferny foliage, carmel colored stems, and frothy, creamy white flower that fade to a tan color (pic below). I don't like spent Astilbe flower heads, but like the ones on Aruncus and leave them up until they are totally crispy.

Aruncus aethusifolius- Dwarf Goat's Beard photo arae_zpsa3538a86.jpg

It is probably one of the easiest plants ever- never had any trouble with it. Plus the foliage has fab fall color!
fall shade plants 2011 photo fallshadeplants.jpg
CMK

This post was edited by christinmk on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 3:11


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

These are wonderful pictures Christin (not just of the Aruncus but the surrounding plants also).


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

Aruncus dioicus, where happy, can grow into a huge plant -5' tall and almost as wide. It is easier to please that astilbe, liking, but not requiring a lot of moisture. You may not find it suitable for a small city garden because of its shrub-like proportions. It grows virtually anywhere, including dry shade.
Much more manageable are Aruncus aethusifolius, which Christinmk describes and shows so well above. Another, which is a fairly recent introduction, is ARUNCUS 'Misty Lace', which is a lovely cultivar with red stems which reaches about 24-30" in my garden. It is very vigorous, flowers over a good long period and has very pretty foliage.
I wouldn't be without any of them, but good old-fashioned Aruncus dioicus still ranks in my top 10.
People seem to love it or hate it - there doesn't seem to be a middle ground with this plant.


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

The Dwarf Korean goatsbead (Aruncus aethusifolius) seeds around like mad for me so I deadhead as soon as the flowers start to fade. It is showy in bloom and has nice foliage though. The male Aruncus dioicus is showier than the female and, unfortunately, mine are all female.... plus they are in a bit too much shade and the conditions are a little too dry. But they make good shrub substitutes so I like them. Astilbes have never done well for me - too dry here - so I don't have any now. Since I only liked the white ones anyway, goatsbeard is the better plant for me.


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

-woodyoak, so interesting. Didn't know Aruncus was a dioecious plant... I've wondered why I never had seedlings from my plant (bummer!). What are the main differences between male and female?? How can you get seedlings if all you have are female? Or did you chuck the male out to prevent that?

-Doug, thanks! The Cryptotaenia japonica 'Atropurpurea' does pair nicely with it. I also recently added an Epimedium grandiflorum 'Nanum' in front of the Aruncus, which has brownish red margin on the leaf edge. It all looks very mocha-y, lol. This may be one of those "happy accidents" Bob Ross always talked about- must be because I am not savvy enough to have thought of this combo on my own, LOL.
CMK


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

CMK - the Aruncus aethusifolius is NOT dioecious which is why I have the seedling problem with it... I'm surprised yours haven't noticeabley seeded around too.

The big Aruncus dioicus (note the species part of the botanical name....) is the one with separate male and female plants. The flowers on the males are 'fatter' so they make more of an impression. Unfortunanely, they are never sold by the sex so, unless you buy it when it's in bloom, you just take your chance... I have 3 and all are female! If you look at the pictures in the link below, you can see how different they can look.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aruncus dioicus image search


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

ninamarie wrote: It is very vigorous, flowers over a good long period and has very pretty foliage.

I love hearing good things about a plant that is not currently in one's garden...it is always fun thinking of different options for plantings..

'marie' can you give me an idea of when it begins to flower and for how long does it last?.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 16:02


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

I grow Aruncus dioicus and Aruncus ‘Zweiweltenkind’ which is a hybrid of dioicus and sinensis and like both of them lots, but Zweiweltenkind is by far my favorite. When in bloom it’s about 4 feet tall, but after the spent blooms are removed you have a mound of foliage only about 15 inches tall. In my experience, neither of the above have flowers that age well. When they start turning brown, they’re just plain ugly and neither bloom all that long - maybe a couple of weeks.
This photo of Zweiweltenkind really doesn’t do it justice, but at least you get an idea of the possibilities. I could see it used as a focal point in a garden bed, but I wouldn’t surround it with other tall growing plants. It needs to stand out on its own.

If I remember correctly, some of the more interesting hybrids seem to be coming out of Germany. I think I may have seen some of them offered here, but I can't say where exactly - maybe Forest Farms?

Kevin


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

That is a great picture Kevin. Thank you.

How much shade does this particular plant experience in your garden?

(I did a quick search for ‘Zweiweltenkind’ and I see no mention of it for any Ontario nursery with an on line presence...too bad....but I will keep my eyes open for this particular variety this season. I wonder if it might be very similar to "Misty Lace").

This post was edited by rouge21 on Fri, Mar 15, 13 at 8:07


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

I have read that it makes a good hedge by roads, because unlike shrubs that break stems when snow plows come through its of course gone by then.


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

My Aruncus are grown on the North side of my house which I consider "very bright shade". There are no trees and that area does receive a couple of hours of very early morning sun and a bit more at the end of the day. After doing some reading last spring, I moved the Zweiweltenkind to a sunnier area. I'll see what it does this year.

You may have problems finding this one. I think it's a pretty old hybrid.

Kevin


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

I think you are right Kevin i.e. being able to find "Zweiweltenkind" so I will likely give "Misty Lace" a go.


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

I'm new to perennial forums, but i'll give my two cents anyway. I think goats beard is a fantastic alternative to astilbe, it can handle less than ideal situations better than astilbe. I personally prefer astilbe, but if you can't grow it well you should grow something else. Since you already have astilbe, and assuming they are doing well, there isn't much reason to get goats beard unless you like it or there are some tought spots in your shade. If you can get one cheap, free or by trade....you could always just try it out.


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

Here's my 2 cents on Aruncus. I have Misty Lace, Horatio, Dioicus and Zweiweltenkind. Trying to stay with the question asked(hard). Misty Lace to my eyes does not appear significantly different then Astibe. While a pretty plant with all the Astilbe I have it added nothing different. Horatio is to new to comment on. AD and AZ I love for their size and brought a new dimension to the garden. In a normal year my soil is moister retaining and astilbe and aruncus do well for me. I'm struggling to understand growing them in dry soil. I've had AD and Az for eons and mine never have looked heathy in droughty years. Don't know why? I have also been unfortunate as to lose a tree that gave the north side of my house most of it's shade. Everything now receives at least 5 hours of hot afternoon sun. AD and AZ are very unhappy and struggling. Even with additional water. In it's previous moist shady environment blooms stayed nice for easily 6 weeks or better. Foliage lush thick and green' Never actually recorded bloom time. Now blooms fry as soon as weather gets hot or the soil runs dry. Remember please I'm only speaking of my experience with aruncus and that said, I would only recommend it for moist shadier spots or sun with very damp soil for it to look its very best. O'kay I didn't stay with the question asked. Darn!


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

Thanks very much 'patty' for sharing your experiences. Doing some looking on-line I am intrigued by "Horatio".


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

I wish the Aruncus aethusifolius would seed around for me. I've never seen a single seedling, drat. And though I really like the presence Aruncus dioicus brings to the garden it does not do well for me in dry conditions either. If we get a hot dry spring it it tends to have fried leaves unless I'm on standby with the hose. Last year we were hot early and then got a late hard freeze and the poor thing looked like death warmed over, no blooms for me last year.


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

'Kevin' wrote:

I moved the Zweiweltenkind to a sunnier area. I'll see what it does this year.
You may have problems finding this one. I think it's a pretty old hybrid.

Kevin, I searched without success hoping to find that wonderful variety (Zweiweltenkind) shown in your picture. So instead I decided on and was able to find and subsequently plant 2 "Horatio".

And then just this past weekend by chance I did come across Zweiweltenkind!

Now I had no need for anymore aruncus and yet still I purchased it. Ridiculous.

(Btw, let us know how it does in its new light aspect).


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

I love my dwarf aruncus. It's a perfectly round ball of nice ferny foliage.


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RE: Goat`s Beard too similar to Astilbe?

"Horatio - I've read very good things about this one. I think it's one of the current favorites.

So far Zweiweltenkind is doing really, really well in its new location, but we haven't had any warm or hot weather yet - you know this never ending early spring weather this year. I'll see what happens when the scorching stuff sets in if it ever does.

When I moved this plant, I divided into 3 pieces. Right now the sum of those 3 divisions is much, much larger than the original plant if that makes any sense. To me, that says it's happy.

Kevin


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