Goats Beard is a plant that is native to many types of woodland. Its flower is quite similar in many ways to the Astilbe, but it is really much more like a bush.
This interesting plant can grow up to almost the height of an adult – that is to say, about five feet high, and it spreads out to a diameter of around four feet.
It has quite a presence, as you can see, and it blooms from the beginning to about the middle of summer.
Goats Beard is native to woodlands and shares the preferences of other woodland plants that prefer shaded locations and not to be out in full sun.
I always feel that in providing the right environment and such for a plant it greatly helps a gardener to try to visualize the original environment that the plant grows in, in the wild.
Goats Beard, for example, lives in forest floor where the heat of the sun rarely penetrates.
This means that it is definitely a shade loving plant with a very low tolerance to a lot of heat or strong sunlight.
It is therefore best to plant it where it will either benefit from the shade of a tree, which really is ideal, or where it is at least protected from the strongest sunlight by a wall, house, or shed.
As for soil, this plant evolved to grow in forests where there is a large component of decaying leaves in the soil that provides a rich source of nutrients.
You must simulate its natural environment with a generous application of compost, preferably leaf compost if you have it, but if you don't, any other form of compost will probably do.
Keep the soil moist – remember that in woodland, where the real heat of the sun rarely reaches the ground, the ground rarely dries up completely. Therefore, moisture will be important for the plants health.
Moist... but not wet and soggy is the way to go. They can survive in a dryer soil, but only if their roots are protected by a layer of mulch that enables them to remain cool and to retain moisture in the ground around their roots.
Remember to remove old leaves from the plant in the spring, and try to water the plant well enough to keep the soil moist in dry summer conditions.
This plant is propagated by seed and by no other method. This is also a plant that will die out if you transplant it, and propagation by division is certainly out of the question because you will likely kill it.
If you wish more of these plants you will have to sow more seeds. Or, it is possible to buy young plants in nurseries (more on this later). This plant can be rather demanding that way.
Remember when you do your planting that this plant will grow quite tall and will spread out to a range of four feet or so, so leave that amount of perimeter around it when you are planning your garden design, or it will tend to smother any smaller plant in the vicinity.
Generally you should shop for this plant in spring or summer.
These plants are usually sold in six inch containers. If you buy the plant from a nursery you'll want to spend some time over the selection process – and remember that this is a plant that can be rather particular about transplanting. It's important that you make sure you choose a healthy specimen or specimens.
There are certain things to look for when selecting a specimen of Goat's Beard as there is for any other plants – look for signs that the plant is growing healthily.
These are generally manifest in the growth of new leaves and shoots and in evidence of new flower buds.
A plant with these signs will generally transplant well, while one without may not be all that healthy and might well wither and die soon after planting.
When you get the plants home, place them in holes in the ground that have been lightly treated with fertilizer to give them a start.
Goats Beard has a flower quite similar to the Astilbe but is more bush like in appearance. It grows to approximately 5 feet in height and spreads to 4 feet diameter.
Its white Astilbe like flower will provide blooms from early Summer through the middle of Summer.
These plants grow naturally in woodland settings and in humus rich and moist soils. They also do well in dryer conditions with the aid of a mulch to retain moisture.
Propagate by sowing seed. This shade flower does not want to be disturbed, no transplanting or dividing, just let it be. If one is not enough, either sow seed or by another one, don't kill your existing plants by trying to move them.
Recreate the woodland setting with humus rich soil, leaf mould and compost.
After the Goats Beard flowers fade you'll enjoy the beautiful green foliage while the seed set and turn brown/beige. Quite attractive!
Five feet tall and four feet wide you'll have to leave plenty room as this shade tolerant flower fills a space as big as a shrub.