Many people think of Goldenrod as a plant that lives in sunny fields and flowers in wands or plumes at the top of tall stems. There are a number of Goldenrods that do not fit this description, however.

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Zigzag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis) is a woodland Goldenrod growing only 2-3′ tall. Flowers bloom in clusters along the upper parts of the stem. It does best in part shade with at least moderate moisture, but can tolerate dry soils.

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Zigzag Goldenrod has rhizomes that can wander far and wide under the right conditions. It can also self-sow, though I haven’t noticed that nearly as much. For this reason, I would recommend it for more naturalized areas, like our Back Garden’s Thicket Corner.

dsc_0811 zigzag goldenrod

It’s a plant that does excel at adding bright color to shady spots in early fall.

DSC_0766 back garden zigzag goldenrod

Like others of its genus, Zigzag Goldenrod is beloved by pollinators, as the 2 bumblebees above will attest. Its native range includes most of eastern North America (as far west as North Dakota and Texas).

And remember: Goldenrod does not cause allergies. 

Zigzag Goldenrod might be worth adding to an informal, shaded corner of your garden.

26 Comments on “Not Your Average Goldenrod

  1. I love Golden Rod too and we have some of the tall wild S. canadensis at our fence. Our native one (S. virgaurea) has all but disappeared. But I hope to track some down to plant in the garden. 🙂

  2. I love goldenrod, but never have seen this one. The maps show it entirely absent in Texas, although we have several other lovely species. One of my favorite combinations is goldenrod and beautyberry; that combination of purple and gold just can’t be beat.

  3. I’ve not heard of Zigzag Goldenrod, but it is lovely – I wouldn’t be fond of the runners, though. I have plenty of native goldenrod blooming but try to keep it to the edge of our woodland as it can really take over.

  4. Your lovely Goldenrod reminds me of our hardy Wattle (Acacia) shrubs .. they have lovely sprays of yellow flowers in spring, and flower regardless of the weather conditions … unfortunately most of this species can cause mild allergies but still worth it.

  5. This is a great one for shade. But rabbits like to eat it, too. So, I still have a small patch of it, but the bunnies have snacked on most of it. By adding more Alliums, maybe I’ll be able to save more ZigZag in the future. That photo of your impressive patch of it near the tree is lovely.

    • Oh, the dratted rabbits! I have not had that problem yet with Goldenrod, but it may be just a matter of time. When will the bunny population finally crash? Isn’t that supposed to happen at some point? They used to leave my Virginia Bluebells alone, but then this spring they chewed them up as if they were laid out on a salad bar.

  6. Beautiful pictures. Goldenrod looks so bright and cheerful as well as pretty and delicate. Great that it doesn’t cause allergies too!

  7. You know, I think the subdued bloom of this species sort of resembles that of our uncommon native species. Ours is rarely seen, and is not at all aggressive (like I am afraid the exotics would be). It lives out in the open though, and does not last through summer without watering. I am still unwilling to try an exotic goldenrod.

  8. I had a lot of solidago caesia at my old garden and recently bought some native goldenrods for my current garden. I’m determined to create a meadow/prairie on a sunny slope and needed tough plants. Solidago definitely fits the bill!

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