Aruncus 'Horatio'

Common Name: aruncus 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall


Best grown in moist, fertile, organically rich soils in full sun to part shade. Foliage decline can occur rapidly if soils are permitted to dry out. With consistent moisture, it performs well in full sun in the northern portions of its growing range, but prefers part shade in the warmer southern part of its growing range. Removing faded flower stalks will not prolong bloom, but may improve plant appearance, particularly if a ground cover look is desired. On the other hand, flower stalks may be left in place to enjoy the continuing ornamental effect of the dried seed plumes. Plants can be slow to establish.

‘Horatio’ reportedly performs better than most varieties of Aruncus in the hot and humid conditions of the Deep South through at least USDA Zone 7b.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Aruncus is a genus of 2-3 species of herbaceous perennials from the Northern Hemisphere.

Genus name is the classical Greek name for these plants.

‘Horatio’ is a shrub-like variety of goat’s beard. It is a hybrid cross between Aruncus aesthusifolius (compact low grower to 10-16" tall) and Aruncus dioicus (tall grower to 4-6' tall). 'Horatio' was introduced into commerce by German nurseryman Ernst Pagels. Plants typically grow 30-40" tall with a spread to 20-30" wide. Narrow horizontal astilbe-like panicles of soft, tiny, creamy-white flowers bloom in June-July on bronze-toned stems. As the flowers fade, the panicles turn brown, giving each spike an interesting two-toned appearance. Fern-like bi-pinnate compound green foliage turns red in fall.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spot.


Partly shaded areas of rock gardens, border, open woodland gardens or shade gardens. Pond or stream margins. Mass plantings are excellent in flower.