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Golden Rod Solidago

Other Common Name(s):

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so-li-DAY-go
Description

Solidago, or Goldenrod, is a genus of herbaceous perennials in the aster family with up to 120 species and numerous cultivars. It displays small, bright yellow flowers in dense clusters on top of tall stems from July through September.  Deadheading spent flowers will result in additional blooms.

This plant is mostly native to North America; however, there are some species native to Mexico, South America, and Eurasia. They are often found in meadows, prairies, woodlands, thickets, and swamps.

The genus name, Solidago, is Latin for Solidus and means" to make whole." This references the plant's healing properties. Native Americans used this plant for medicinal purposes.

Goldenrod is easy to grow in full sun and average, dry to medium, well-drained soil. It is a very forgiving plant and tolerates poor, dry soils, clay, and drought.  The plant naturalizes quickly in the garden, and it may be advisable to divide it every two or three years to control its spread. Propagation is accomplished with wind-driven seeds or by the division of underground rhizomes.

Some species produce abundant nectar when moisture is plentiful, or when the weather is warm. The nectar attracts bees. wasps, and butterflies while birds are fond of seeds. It is also deer resistant.  

Goldenrod is sometimes confused with ragweed and wrongly accused of bearing the wind-borne ragweed pollen that causes allergies and hay fever.

Goldenrod hybrids and cultivars are very popular perennials in Europe and becoming so here and their color and form combine well with blue wood asters (Symphyotrichum cordifolium) and hardy ageratum (Coloclinium coelestinum).

Different species of goldenrod are found in many different environments as well as soil conditions. When selecting a plant for your landscape, it is best to consider its native habitat to ensure success. Some species are best not planted in garden settings because of their spreading rhizomatous growth. 

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom: Summer and Fall 

Quick ID Hints:

  • herbaceous perennial on erect stems that sometimes has a woody base
  • the leaves are simple, alternate, entire or serrate, smooth or hairy, and frequently scented
  • tiny, golden flowerheads appear in wand-like clusters on the ends of the branches and curve outward

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: This plant has no serious insect or disease problems; however, rust, powdery mildew, and leaf spot may occur. Some species can be aggressive and spread easily when grown in optimal conditions. 

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Bee Hive Garden, Wake Co Native Plant Demonstration Garden All Saints' Episcopal Church
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Baby Sun'
    erect, low growing, early bloomer from July to mid-August
  • 'Goldkind'
    disease resistant, blooms late July to September
'Baby Sun', 'Goldkind'
Tags:
#gold#full sun tolerant#fall flowers#perennials#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#native perennials#honey bees#nectar plant#native bees#fall interest#specialized bees#highly beneficial coastal plants#fire medium flammability#NC native#summer flowers#deer resistant#pollinator plant#native wildflower#larval host plant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#wavy-lined emerald butterfly#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Baby Sun'
    erect, low growing, early bloomer from July to mid-August
  • 'Goldkind'
    disease resistant, blooms late July to September
'Baby Sun', 'Goldkind'
Tags:
#gold#full sun tolerant#fall flowers#perennials#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#native perennials#honey bees#nectar plant#native bees#fall interest#specialized bees#highly beneficial coastal plants#fire medium flammability#NC native#summer flowers#deer resistant#pollinator plant#native wildflower#larval host plant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#wavy-lined emerald butterfly#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Solidago
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans used goldenrod for medicinal purposes. They made tea to reduce fever. They used it as a poultice for bee stings. Some chewed the flowers to treat sore throats.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America, Mexico, South America, and Eurasia
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds eat the plant's seed. This plant supports Wavy-lined Emerald (Synchlora aerata) larvae. It also attracts butterflies, bees, and wasps. The genus Solidago supports the following specialized bees: Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) asteris, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) braccata, Andrena (Cnemidandrena) hirticincta, Andrena (Cnemidandrena) nubecula, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) simplex, Perdita (Perdita) octomaculata, Melissodes (Eumelissodes) fumosus, Colletes simulans, and Colletes solidaginis.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer resistant
    Edibility:
    Young leaves are edible. The plant is also used to make herbal teas.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Clumping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Panicle
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Blooms July through October with tiny, bright yellow flowers in dense, erect, club-shaped terminal clusters.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    In the upper half of the plant, there are often small leaves that develop from the upper axils of the primary leaves; they have a wing-like appearance. In some species, the basal leaves are shed before flowering.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Stiff, narrow-leaved, stems typically growing 2-3' tall supporting terminal flower clusters.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Weedy