Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) is a plant that provides cheerful color during that quieter period in the garden in late spring, It is perhaps not one of the spectacular garden plants, but it can make a fine addition to more informal beds and borders. It is native to a wide swath of eastern and central North America, from Quebec across the Middle West and as far as Texas.
Reasons to grow Golden Alexander start with its umbels of yellow flowers, a sign of membership in the Carrot Family. The flowers have an extensive bloom period, lasting four weeks or more depending on the weather.
Golden Alexanders are easy and fairly trouble-free in the right conditions. They like fertile, moist soil in sun or part shade.
This is a plant that attracts lots of native pollinators, especially short-tongued bees. It also draws the predatory insects that eat insect pests and is recommended as a tool of biological control.
Golden Alexander is not perfect. About 2-3 feet tall, it’s a relaxed plant. It tends to lounge about in a way that would put off, say, a tightly clipped boxwood hedge. Also, if it likes your garden, it will tend to self-sow. Possibly A LOT. So I always cut back seed heads when they appear, which also keeps the plant looking more tidy through the summer.
If there is a part of your garden that is more informal or devoted to wildflowers, you may want to give Golden Alexander a try.