Growing Guide
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Herbaceous Perennial Flower, Wildflower

Aruncus dioicus
Rosaceae Family
Synonym: Aruncus sylvester, Spiraea aruncus

Feathery white blooms rise above the airy, fern-like foliage of this tall, striking shade garden plant. Plants with male flowers have more attractive bloom, but female plants have more attractive seedpods.

Site Characteristics
  • part shade
  • full shade
Best in partial shade if adequate moisture provided.

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
  • tolerates damp soil
Prefers rich, moist soil.

Hardiness zones:

  • 3 to 9
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 4 to 6.5 feet

Spread: 4 to 6 feet

Bloom time:

  • early summer
  • mid-summer

Flower color: white

Male flowers are creamy white, female flowers greenish white.

Foliage color: medium green

Foliage texture: medium

Leaves are doubly compound and toothed. Although the leaves are large, the overall plant has a very airy, lacy appearance.


  • upright
  • loose and formless

Plants are erect but loose and airy.

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

Feathery flowerheads bloom above plants on erect stems. Male flowers (creamy white) and female flowers (greenish white) borne on separate plants.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • native to North America - Native to Northern Europe and North America
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, division or separation - Divide in spring or autumn. The roots are very deep and woody, and division can be a difficult task.

Both male and female plants are required for seeds to set. Plant seeds when freshly harvested. Older seeds need a 40°F treatment for 4 weeks before being moved to a warmer growth area.

Germination temperature: 70 F to 75 F

Days to emergence: 14 to 21

Maintenance and care:
Keep soil moist but not soggy. If plants dry out, leaf edges will scorch. Remove dead leaves to improve appearance.

Deadhead spent blooms if they weigh down the plants excessively. May self-seed if both male and female plants are present, but not very aggressively.

Division only required every 10 years or more.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

‘Child of Two Worlds’ (‘Zweiweltkind’) has pendulous heads of white flowers.

‘Kneiffii’ grows just 3 feet tall with very airy, sharply cut foliage and lacy blooms.