Currently we don’t have any of the tall goldenrods in the garden, except for a few volunteer wildlings scattered in corners here and there. We do have a lot of Bluestem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia), however.
Bluestem Goldenrod has a number of notable virtues lacking in the stereotypical Goldenrod. It’s fairly compact. It doesn’t spread by rhizomes, though it will self-sow. And it’s fairly shade tolerant.
Little clusters of four-petaled flowers line the stems, which, as the common name implies, are blue – see the picture above. The flowers make me think of little golden bridal bouquets.
Bluestem Goldenrod looks similar to the popular cultivar ‘Fireworks’ (S. rugosa). Differences are that ‘Fireworks’ does spread by rhizomes, is not really shade tolerant, and is less compact. And while ‘Fireworks’ is a nativar, Bluestem Goldenrod is straight species only – to my knowledge there are no varieties, though that may be just a matter of time.
As with other Goldenrods, this one is buzzing with pollinators once in bloom.
This plant’s habit varies a bit depending on who its companions are. Sometimes the stems are more prostrate, but they can also be fairly upright. The stems are generally arching to one degree or another.
Here it is relatively upright with Brown Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba), Monarda ‘Purple Rooster’, and Short’s Aster (Symphyotrichum shortii).
In sum, if you want to grow Goldenrods but suffer from grandibotanophobia (fear of large plants) and have a moderately shady garden, Bluestem Goldenrod could be a good possibility.
Thanks for featuring this plant. Native goldenrod has gone nuts in a wilder area of our yard this year and it has given me a new appreciation for the plant. I’d like to incorporate some smaller varieties into the garden and this one sounds like a winner.
Certainly this is an easier one to work with in the garden.
I know of only two places to see this one in the wild but I’m sure it must grow in many more.
I would expect so, it seems pretty adaptable.
I like the sound and looks of this Goldenrod. I have Fireworks. In one place it gets morning sun and the other place gets a.couple of shots of sun morning and evening. Both do ok. What I am wondering is does your Goldenrod spread fast? I would love to find one that doesn’t spread so fast.
It doesn’t spread at all by roots, but it will self-sow.
Sounds promising and the bees in your photos are certainly enjoying it!
Yes, they are!
I’d never heard of this one. When I looked at the USDA map, I realized why. It’s shown in only five, far-eastern Texas counties, on the border with Louisiana. However: the western edge of one of those counties is snuggled up against the area I’ve been exploring over there, and it’s a county I wanted to visit. Now I have another plant to look for when I’m there.
Always amazed at how one species can adapt over such a wide area.
You’ve enticed me to put that one on my list. I’m glad that you mentioned Fireworks spreading by rhizomes – I believe it was on my short list of plants to include in the garden, but that has put the kibosh on that.
I hope it does well for you.
I’ve loved my Solidago ‘Fireworks’ in both my Upstate South Carolina garden and now in my Asheville, NC one, but they definitely spread! Thank goodness, they’re easy to manage.
It’s not a problem if you have the time and inclination to dig them out where they are not wanted.
Sounds like a plant I would love, and I will definitely see if I can locate some to try in my own garden!
Good luck! Do you ever order from Niche Gardens in NC?
Thanks for the tip!
I don’t mind big plants. I just mind something with a reputation for naturalizing. I will try goldenrod eventually, but selection will be a process. I might just try the native, if I can find it. It is not much to look at, but I would feel better about it.
What’s not to love? I love them and obviously those bumbles do too.xxx
For some people they are a bit too wild looking.