Jupiter’s beard tolerates only minor shade.

It is rare in nurseries, but common in and near old gardens. Jupiter’s beard, Centranthus ruber, was popular at least a century ago, and is now naturalized. It migrates so liberally, and transplants so easily, that there should be no need to purchase it. Those who grow it in established colonies may be happy to share. Specific cultivars can be elusive though.

Bloom is typically pinkish red, but can be brick red, purplish red, purplish pink, pale pink, or white. Individual flowers are tiny, but abundant, in rather dense and somewhat conical trusses. Bloom begins in spring and becomes more profuse until warm summer weather. A cool situation can inhibit primary bloom, but promote sporadic bloom through summer.

Jupiter’s beard prefers sunny exposure. Although a bit of shade can preserve foliar color and extend sporadic bloom through summer warmth, it compromises profusion of bloom. The slightly rubbery evergreen foliage of bloomed stems deteriorates slowly. Removal of older stems after bloom eliminates shabby growth, and also promotes fresh new growth.

6 thoughts on “Jupiter’s beard

  1. I love this plant Tony. It sporadically took over my old garden and rockery but after a hard winter it would die back in places. The old sort is much prettier and vigorous than any hybrids I tried growing. And the pollinators love it!

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    1. That is nice that you appreciate it. Some who are familiar with it consider it to be a weed. I happen to like it, and would like to add some to the garden, but am hesitant because of the reputation.

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      1. I would not want to be without this plant Tony. Why not try it and keep an eye on it – if it spreads too much it is easy to pull out and can be cut down after the first flowering to prevent the seeds flying. Then it flowers again. The hummingbird hawk moths we get here love it and I don’t think they would visit my garden if I didn’t have this plant! šŸ˜ƒ

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      2. There are a few situations into which I would not mind planting it. I would not plant it where I think it would migrate into the wild, or get into the creek. I would not mind planting it in my planter box downtown because there is no place for it to escape to. Even if it tosses seed, it is not a weed in the chaparral climate of the Santa Clara Valley. In some places in the redwood forests, it can do very well in sunny situations, but does not migrate aggressively into the surrounding dark forests.

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