Goldenrod Days

What would autumn be without goldenrods? In my garden, certainly, it would be a lot less colorful.

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Even in a shady corner, Zigzag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis) adds luminosity to the scene. A good plant for spots that are difficult or on the wild side – aggressive but useful in the right place and beautiful in its season.

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This is an unknown Goldenrod, maybe Solidago rugosa, that arrived on its own. I let it grow under the Silver Maple in the back garden. I like how it blooms with the False Aster (Boltonia asteroides), another volunteer.

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Bumblebee on Zigzag Goldenrod

Without Goldenrod, there would surely be fewer bees in our garden right now, especially the bumblebees.

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Bluestem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia)

Are there still people who believe that Goldenrod contributes to the misery of their pollen allergies? A damnable libel – the true culprit is Ragweed. Goldenrod is wholly innocent.

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Bumblebee on Bluestem Goldenrod.

There are some species and varieties of Goldenrod that are reasonably well-behaved (Solidago caesia or S. odorata, for example), so do not be afraid to include them in your garden. After all, an autumn garden without Goldenrod is like an unfinished painting, like a bagel without cream cheese, like an orchestra without a brass section.

Do you have Goldenrod in your garden?

60 Comments on “Goldenrod Days”

  1. I agree. I have a very tricky area full of tree roots, in full sun, and extremely dry, and the Golden Rod settled in on its own solving my planting dilemma! Having said that, it only flowered for a couple of weeks this year – the heat and drought was too much even for Golden Rod, so it must have been bad! It’s great for the hover flies in particular.

  2. I only have Solidago canadensis, and its regularly kept in check, I know there are lots of lovely solidagos I haven’t explored yet, odorata, sounds interesting and I like your use zigzag goldenrod, shady corners are always tricky.

  3. Picture #2 might be Old-field Goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis). I grow Elm-leaved (S. ulmifolia), Showy (S. speciosa) and Blue-stemmed (S. caesa). They partner so well with asters in bloom now also.

  4. I had golden rod in previous gardens and had a rotten time with it seeding itself about and generally trying to take over, so I have avoided it since. Perhaps I should dabble with one of the less aggressive cultivars, after all, I do so enjoy a good brass section.

    • I would say S. odorata is a good choice for a compact, well behaved goldenrod. I know people who grow and like ‘Fireworks”, but I have no experience with it. I will admit that S. caesia seeds around a lot, but I deal with it because it’s such a great plant otherwise.

  5. We don’t have Goldenrod in our garden but we do have the perfect spot for some. I’m going to look into it now (although I can do without another invasive plant). Hopefully there’ll be one that is well-behaved. Thanks Jason.

  6. Most of the Goldenrod I have is volunteer, but I did plant some ‘Little Lemon’ a couple of years ago that has been moved repeatedly but I think has finally found its true home (it’s short), and I just planted Ohio Goldenrod. I like Goldenrod with New York Aster – gold and purple.

  7. You bet I have goldenrod. I have Fireworks and a wildling that invited itself to the garden. I love the bright shot of yellow it brings to the garden. Of course if you need a bit of entertainment you can always stand by the goldenrod and watch the bugs bouncing around there upon.

  8. Well, you know my story about Goldenrods in my garden. Somebody with fangs and big ears destroyed them. 😉 I will protect the Goldenrod plants more next year (if they grow back), so hopefully they’ll eventually establish (along with the Asters and the Blue Mistflowers). Or maybe I’ll just get a big dog and let it chase away the big-eared monsters.

  9. I have several different types of goldenrod that grow wild along most of the edges of my yard, as well as in and around our detention pond out back. It pops up in the garden every once and awhile and I have to weed it out, but in general I love having such a pretty native plant around. So pretty and cheerful, and the bees and other pollinators love it so much!

  10. Hello Jason, this confused me at first because “Golden Rod” here is Forsythia, which is an early spring flowering shrub. I’l have to read more about this Golden Rod and see if I can find a place for it in the garden given the bees enjoying it.

  11. I have a dwarf goldenrod I can’t remember the name of that has mostly died off but I do have a tiny chunk that has soldiered on as well as a large chunk of s. caesia. I just added some variegated zigzag goldenrod to a tough spot so I hope it ends up being a problem solver for me. It’s reassuring to see it doing so well for you.

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