The goldenrod plants is one of the most welcome sights in the late-summer landscape, the plant has tall flower plumes blazing brightly like golden-yellow flames. The goldenrod plants have yet to gain the widespread acceptance it deserves in American gardens, this is actually because of the mistaken notion that the plant causes hay fever—or because the plant is sometimes considered to be a weed with little ornamental value.

If you’ve actually been avoiding goldenrod plants for these unwarranted reasons, it’s time to take another look at these late-season beauties. Newer cultivars with showier flowers and more refined growth habits should dispel any misconceptions that goldenrod plant is nothing but a common prairie plant. Many of the native wildflower species also merit a spot in the garden, not only for their vibrant fall color but also because they are an important late-season food source for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.


Goldenrod Plant Info

The botanical name: Solidago

The plant type: The plant is herbaceous perennial

USDA hardiness zone: This actually varies, depending on the species. Most are durable enough to tolerate cold winters and hot summers.

The blooming time: Goldenrod plants have a long bloom period, typically flourishing from late summer to mid-fall. Some cultivars, such as Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks', will continue to flower until the first frost.

Height: From under a foot to more than six feet.

The color and characteristics: Although members of the aster family (Asteraceae), goldenrod flowers bear little resemblance. Instead of individual daisy-like flowers (ray flowers), goldenrods produce clusters of tiny yellow or gold florets, some in the form of broad and nearly flat-topped corymbs and others cascading in feathery panicles from arching stems. Some varieties, such as Solidago sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece’, also have attractive semi-evergreen foliage that extends the season of interest.


Other attributes include:

-         The plant is deer resistant.

-         The plant tolerates drought and poor soils.

-         The plant has few disease or insect problems.

-         Great for cutting.


How to Grow Goldenrod from Seed

What to plant: There are more than one hundred species, and most are native to North America. While the majority resides in sunny meadows and prairies, others prefer semi-shaded woodland locations, boggy environments, and even salty coastal areas. Because the different species are found growing in a wide range of environments with different soil conditions, consider a goldenrod’s native habitat before choosing a variety for your garden.


Where to plant: Goldenrod plants grow from either clump-forming crowns or by rhizomes. Clump-forming types are better suited for manicured garden beds and borders because they won’t spread aggressively. Plant the more rambunctious rhizomatous types where you can contain their spread or in a naturalistic garden setting where they will be less intrusive.


Light requirements: Most crave full sun, with the exception of woodland species which grow well in partial shade.


Soil requirements: The plant will thrive in just about any average garden soil with decent drainage. Some species also adapt well to heavy clay, sandy, or rocky soils. Make sure you avoid planting in overly rich soil which can lead to leggy growth.


How to plant: Like many wildflowers, goldenrod plant is extremely easy to grow from seed, which can be sown directly outdoors in fall or spring or started indoors six to eight weeks before your last frost date. If you plant the goldenrod seeds in late fall or early winter, they will begin to germinate when the temperatures warm the following spring. No matter when you plant your goldenrod seeds, be sure to sow them on the soil surface because they need sunlight to germinate.


Plant spacing: Whether you're growing seedlings or nursery-grown plants, provide adequate space between them (anywhere from one to three feet, depending on the size at maturity) to permit good air circulation and to keep spreading types from encroaching upon neighboring plants.


Goldenrod Plant Care

Like most wildflowers, goldenrod plants are wonderfully carefree, drought tolerant, and disease resistant. But when growing them in a perennial garden, there are some simple steps you can take to keep them looking their best and to control their spread.

Don’t bother fertilizing; they will do just fine without it. Feeding will only lead to floppy growth and fewer flowers.

If rhizomatous varieties threaten to take over your garden, divide plants every two or three years to keep them in check. Clump-forming species typically grow at a much slower pace and can be divided less frequently.

If you want to prevent them from reseeding, deadhead your plants after flowering. Otherwise, leave the seed heads in place to feed wildlife over the winter.

To propagate, divide plants in the spring before new growth begins or start new plants from stem cuttings taken in early summer.

Sometimes staking is necessary for taller varieties. An alternative is to prune them back in early summer so they will grow shorter and bushier. You’ll also get better flower production by creating more lateral branches.

Goldenrod plant is rarely troubled by insects or diseases, but the foliage is susceptible to powdery mildew and rust, both of which can be minimized by growing the plants in full sun and providing ample space between them to improve air circulation.

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