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While often confused for astilbe, this wonderfully shade plant is actually in an entirely different family! With their fern-like foliage and wispy white blooms, these plants lend an airiness to the garden that can really help to break up coarse textures. They look especially stunning in mass, and can act as a “groundcover” to really fill in garden space.
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garden plans for Goatsbeard
They may not be particularly colorful themselves, but the neutral tones and light texture of these plants make them great for blending with any color in the shade garden. The large size of these plants also makes them handy, as there often aren't shade plants that are quite this tall. They work great as a shrub substitute in many shady situations. They make fantastic backdrops, as they have few pests or problems, so the foliage almost always looks nice and green. When they are in bloom, the wispy cream-colored blossoms add an additional appeal to these plants. The spent bloom stalks can add an ornamental aspect to the plants as well, but on some of the larger varieties may begin to flop and look messy.
Goatsbeard Care Must-Knows
These native perennials are fairly easy to grow, and don't ask for too much attention. The most important thing to consider when planting goatsbeard is moisture. These are plants that are used to woodland conditions, and keeping them consistently moist is a must. If they are allowed to dry out too much or too often, it is very likely that the leaves will burn and crisp on the edges. In part shade, they can take it a little bit drier that full sun, but still need fairly consistent moisture. It also helps to have nice, rich soil with plenty of organic matter. If you don't, it won't hurt to amend the soil some before planting with some peat moss and compost.
As far as sunlight requirements, goatsbeard like to be in part shade. They especially like to be sheltered from the hot afternoon sun. If they are going to have any direct sun, morning is best time to get it. Being protected from the afternoon heat is also beneficial, because these plants do not like hot and humid summers. In the northern range of their hardiness, these plants can take full sun. However, they will require consistently moist soils, and if they go through any sort of drought, are likely to burn.
Overall, there is very little maintenance to be done to keep these plants looking their best. Spent flower stalks can be left on the plants through the winter for added interest, but should be cut back in late winter before new foliage emerges. Spring is the best season to divide plants, but it is typically not necessary for plant growth. Goatsbeard also has little, if any, pest and disease problems.