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. It’s a tough customer, and does well in terrible but spots, but you are right – quite aggressive if given good garden soil 🙂 None-the-less, it is lovely in bloom

  3. 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.

    • S. odorata has many virtues – compact, tolerates dry soil as well as shade. Plus you can make tea from the leaves, if you are so inclined.

  4. 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.

  5. If it was rare and difficult we would probably all seek it out, but it can be so invasive. I do have some but I am keeping a wary eye on it.

    • Some species are invasive, others are aggressive but can be managed. The only one in my garden that I really consider aggressive is the S. flexicaulus. S. odorata is not aggressive at all in my garden.

  6. I do! Goldenrod fireworks, and I love it. And all your varieties are so pretty, too. Try some in a vase with some tithonia. Happy Fall Gardening, Jason!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    • I have never grown ‘Fireworks’ but I’ve heard several people say they like it. The Goldenrod flowers do get busy with bugs, as you say.

  11. Your goldenrod looks great. I have been enjoying it from afar–it’s brightening up all the roadsides lately.

  12. No goldenrod in the garden, but some by the edge of the woods. By this time of year, my gardens look so frazzled that not even goldenrod would help.

  13. We definitely have goldenrod in our country landscape, but only a few ‘visitors’ in the garden itself. I’m impressed that you know the names of your goldenrod. Great photos.

    • Thanks. There are a lot of goldenrods I have a lot of trouble telling apart. S. odora and S. caesia are some of the easiest to identify.

  14. Goldenrod is visible “everywhere” in our part of Carolina right now. I have some at the edge of my woods that has grown naturally. I look forward to it every fall.

  15. There is goldenrod growing along fences, roads, in fields, Jason. It’s lovely in autumn, such yellow one.

  16. I was admiring a stand of goldenrod just the other day–nice and timely post about a lovely fall native.

  17. Yes, there are many people out there who think that goldenrod is the source of their allergies, and I try to set then straight when I can.
    I grow it in my garden and I have allergies.
    I think you meant to say ragweed instead of ragwort, because ragweed is the real source of all that pollen.

  18. 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.

  19. I let the golden rod grow in the ‘wild areas’ of my garden. It’s beautiful this time of year & like you say, provides nectar for the insects. Nice post – Thank you!

  20. 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!

  21. It is a lovely plant and as you say so good for the bees at this time. I had a clump which seems to have disappeared….I must add some more.xxx

  22. 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.

    • Interesting – Golden Rod is an apt name for Forsythia, but I never heard it used that way. Goes to show how tricky common names can be.

  23. Couldn’t agree with you more, I am a total advocate for using “thugs” in difficult areas where little else will thrive, rather have a plant which some people will criticise than have nothing at all.

  24. 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.

  25. Wild goldenrod grows with wild asters on a wild hillside beside our road. I planted none of this , and it is beautiful!

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