How to Plant and Grow Jupiter's Beard

Nonstop blooms and extreme drought tolerance make this plant a garden favorite.

Jupiter's beard Centranthus ruber

Jupiter's beard (Centranthus ruber) is a perennial known for its almost nonstop blooming ability and extreme drought tolerance. This semi-woody perennial forms dense clusters of brightly colored flowers from late spring until fall. Jupiter's beard makes a beautiful cut flower because of its long vase life and prolific blossoms.

Most commonly found with bright glowing red blossoms, Jupiter's beard may also display pink, white, or even blue flowers that attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Jupiter's beard blossoms boast a long bloom period. Flowers begin appearing in late spring or early summer, and numerous clusters of tiny flowers bloom until frost.

Jupiter’s Beard Overview

Genus Name Centranthus ruber
Common Name Jupiter’s Beard
Plant Type Perennial
Light Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 2 to 3 feet
Flower Color Pink, Red, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Cut Flowers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division, Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Slope/Erosion Control

Where to Plant Jupiter's Beard

Although Jupiter's beard will tolerate light shade, plant it in full sun to keep the soil dry and prevent crown rot, common in moist soil. Full sun also encourages the best blossoms and sturdy plants. Grow it in USDA zones 5–11 in cottage gardens, along stone walls, or on a slope to help prevent erosion.

Invasive Plant

Jupiter's beard self-seeds so prolifically that it is considered invasive in California, Washington, and Oregon. Do not plant Jupiter's beard in these states.

How and When to Plant Jupiter's Beard

Jupiter's beard seeds are easy to start in the garden by pressing them lightly into prepared garden soil in spring or early summer for blooms the following year. Test the soil before you sow the seeds and adjust it to be somewhat alkaline if it is acidic.

To start them indoors, sow seeds in the fall before the last frost. Press the seeds into flats filled with seed-starting mix and barely cover them. Keep them warm—about 65°F is ideal— and they'll germinate in two to three weeks. Provide bright indirect light for the seedlings. Set them outside after the last frost in spring, spaced 12 to 18 inches apart.

Water the plants the first year as they become established. After that, water only when the soil becomes extremely dry.

If you are planting Jupiter's beard nursery plants, wait until fall. Then dig a hole the same depth as the container and twice as wide. Set the plant in the garden soil at the same depth as it was in the container and backfill the hole. Don't add fertilizer; Jupiter's beard doesn't like rich soil. It prefers neutral or alkaline soil, so if your garden soil is acidic, apply a product to adjust the pH before planting.

Jupiter's Beard Care Tips

One of the significant advantages of Jupiter's beard is its extreme drought tolerance and minimal care needs.


Jupiter's beard prefers full sun, which ensures it can dry out between waterings.

Soil and Water

This Mediterranean native needs well-drained soil to thrive. They're highly tolerant of poor soil, even clay, as long as they can dry out. Jupiter's beard prefers alkaline soil. If you're planning to plant this perennial in acidic soil, include some limestone to create a more hospitable pH for Jupiter's beard to grow. Water the plants only when there isn't enough rain or the soil is extremely dry.

Temperature and Humidity

Jupiter's beard prefers warm weather and relatively low humidity. It tolerates hot weather but struggles to flourish in areas with high humidity.


Jupiter's beard takes poor soils in stride, so it doesn't need supplemental fertilizer.


In many garden settings, Jupiter's beard is an aggressive spreader, almost to the point of being weedy. Because of the weedy habit, it is best to deadhead the flowers after they finish blooming. This helps prevent the spread of this plant from the fluffy, almost dandelion-like seed heads. Sometimes, cutting the flowering stalks after the blooms die encourages the plant to produce a second round of flowers.

Late in the summer, plants may begin to look a little ragged and may benefit from a good pruning. In this case, cut the entire plant back by one-third to tidy things up.

In late fall, after the plant goes dormant, cut it back to only 3 or 4 inches.

Pests and Problems

Jupiter's beard is nearly pest-free. It has no big problems with garden pests or fungi. Sometimes mealy bugs or aphids will show up, but they can be removed with a spray of water. Continuously wet soil can lead to crown rot.

How to Propagate Jupiter's Beard

Propagate Jupiter's beard through basal cuttings or division.

To take a basal cutting, brush away the mulch and soil under an established plant to look for an offshoot. Some plants may have several. Brush away more soil and locate the primary root leading from the established plant to the offshoot. Use a sharp knife to cut the root close to the parent plant. Place the offshoot and root in a small pot with a loam-based, grainy compost and keep it in a warm place, watering lightly. Within a few weeks, roots may show at the drain hole of the pot. At this point, the plant can be hardened off and moved outside.

It's best to divide Jupiter's beard in early spring just as the new foliage emerges. The plant can be divided in fall, but the process is more difficult then because the plants develop woody bases. Use a clean spade to lift the entire plant and root ball. Cutting straight down, divide the plant into three or four sections, each containing both roots and foliage. Discard the center of the plant if it is woody. For each division, dig a hole that is an inch more shallow than the rootball. Spread the roots and hold the division in place while backfilling the hole to cover the roots. Press down gently on the soil to eliminate air pockets, and water well.

Types of Jupiter's Beard

Red Centranthus

vivid pink valerian perennial herb
Dean Schoeppner

Centranthus ruber 'Coccineus' deep rosy-pink blooms have a more intense hue than the straight species.

White Centranthus

pink rose with white Centranthus ruber
Ed Gohlich

Centranthus ruber 'Albus' has all the same qualities of the species, except the blooms are pure white.

Jupiter's Beard Companion Plants

Lamb's Ear

Lamb's ear plant
Stephen Cridland

Lamb's ear is a top pick for a groundcover in a hot, baked spot. Its silver-felted foliage quickly forms a dense mat. It also contrasts nicely with other foliage and most flowers. It enhances almost everything. Depending on the type and your growing conditions, it may self-sow freely to the point of becoming a bother. In hot, humid climates, lamb's ear may "melt down" in summer, becoming brown and limp. Zones 4-9


Cynthia Haynes

Grow artemisia for its silver foliage that complements nearly all other perennials and ties together diverse colors within the garden. It's nothing short of stunning next to white or blue flowers. It thrives in hot, dry, sunny conditions like a south-facing slope. Some have spread rapidly to the point of being aggressive. Zones 3-9


violet baptisia plantings in bloom
Blaine Moats

Baptisia is a tall plant with beautiful spires, often in a showy blue. It's a native prairie plant that bears long, tall spikes of pea-like blooms in late spring. As the flowers ripen, they become interesting black seedpods that are often used in fall arrangements. It is a drought-tolerant plant that forms a deep taproot. Choose its location carefully; it is difficult to transplant once established. Zones 3-8

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does Jupiter's beard attract wildlife?

    All kinds of pollinators and birds are drawn to fragrant Jupiter's beard, including butterflies, bees, and birds. However, Jupiter's beard isn't attractive to deer or rabbits, so they stay away.

  • How long does Jupiter's beard live?

    It is difficult to say how long a single Jupiter's beard plant lives because they are such heavy self-seeders that additional plants crop up each year, no matter how diligent the gardener is about deadheading. However, it is recommended that Jupiter's beard be divided about every three years because it tends to lose vigor after that amount of time.

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