Jupiter's Beard

Jupiter's beard Centranthus ruber

Jupiter’s Beard Overview

Description Jupiter's Beard is known for its almost nonstop blooming ability and its extreme drought-tolerance. This semi-woody perennial forms dense clusters of brightly colored flowers from late spring until fall. Jupiter's Beard makes a wonderful cut flower because of its long vase life and prolific blossoms.
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 Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Division, Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Color Combinations

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 even 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 Care Must-Knows

One of the big advantages of Jupiter's Beard is its extreme drought tolerance. Native to Mediterranean areas, these plants need well-drained soil in order to thrive. They are extremely tolerant of poor soil, even clay, as long as they are allowed to dry out. Similar to other Mediterranean plants, Jupiter's Beard prefers alkaline soil. If you are hoping to plant this perennial in more acidic soil, it will be beneficial to include some limestone to create a more hospitable area for Jupiter's Beard to grow.

Jupiter's Beard prefers a hot, full sun that helps ensure it can dry out between waterings. In soil that remains moist, the hot sun allows the soil to dry out and prevent crown rot, which can be common in moist soil. Full sun also encourages the best blossoms and nice sturdy plants.

In many garden settings, Jupiter's Beard is considered quite invasive, almost to the point of being weedy. Because of the weedy habit, it is best to deadhead flowers once they have finished blooming. This helps prevent the spread of this plant from their fluffy, almost dandelion-like seed heads. Later in the summer, plants may begin to look a little ragged and may benefit from a good pruning. This can also help to produce a second round of blossoms on plants.

Jupiter's Beard is an easy plant to start from scratch and also easy to divide to share with friends. The seeds are easy to start, either by planting directly in the ground or indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last frost. It is best to divide Jupiter's Beard in early spring just as the new foliage emerges. Dividing older plants can be tricky as they develop woody bases.

More Varieties 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 blooms are pure white.

Jupiter's Beard Companion Plants

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, delightful 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. A quite different but related plant, big betony is worth growing for its shade tolerance, dark green crumpled leaves, and bright purple spikes of whorled 1-inch flowers in late spring. Wood betony is similar but not as shade-tolerant.

Cynthia Haynes

Grow artemisia for the magnificent 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 such as a south-facing slope. A number spread rapidly to the point of being aggressive, so consider limiting yourself to varieties listed below that are well-behaved.

violet baptisia plantings in bloom
Blaine Moats

Baptisia is one of those tall plants with beautiful spires, often in a showy blue, that draws everyone to it for an admiring closer look. It's a native prairie plant that bears long, tall spikes of pea-like blooms in late spring. As the flowers ripen, they turn into interesting black seedpods 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.

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