Goat's beards and astilbes. What is the difference? Let us start with the scientific names. Goat's Beard is also known as Aruncus, and astilbes are botanically known as Astilbe. There are tons of astilbe cultivars and varieties available, but not as many Goat's Beards on the market.
I purchased my Goat's Beard about five years ago from a mail order source. It has taken all this time for it to finally come into its own. Coincidentally, it is planted right next to a white astilbe. For some crazy reason, white is the only color of astilbe that does well for me in the garden. Both the astilbe and goat's beard look very similar and even grow in the same conditions. Do you need two different plants that look the same? Even grow in the same conditions and bloom in the same color? I am not sure.
Goat's beard is commonly known as Bride's Feathers, and is the host plant for the Dusky Azure butterfly. The flowers on the Goat's Beard are actually kind of feathery. I can see brides carrying them and waving them around. This plant is said to get up to six feet tall and wide. I am still waiting for that, though the plant has grown quite a bit.
The astilbe has been in the garden maybe about four years. This is an easy to grow plant which rewards the gardener with a spot of sunshine when it blooms. Astilbes like a shady spot, with adequate moisture and well draining soil. I have mine growing on the north side of the deck, in so so soil. There are quite a few rocks in this area. The astilbe does not mind and just grows as happy as it can be. It is not as picky with its location as the Goat's Beard. I am looking forward to dividing this clump this fall. The cultivar is 'Deutschland' and I like it very much. I can say one thing for growing white plants, they play well with all other colors in the garden.
So I ask you, do you think the flowers of the two plants look more like a goat's beard or like feathers? Does one more resemble feathers than a goats beard? And are the two so similar you would not grow both in your garden?
in the garden....