Solidago comes to us from the Latin word solido meaning ‘to make whole’. This is in reference to its use in medicine and its apparent effectiveness.Goldenrod is a reference to the golden-yellow of the flowers and the upright way in which they are carried.
- Bloom time: Early to late Fall
- Height: 18” to 48”
- Sun needed: Full to part shade
- Bloom color: Shades of yellow
- Planting space: 18 to 24” apart
- Soil preferred: Well-drained, fertile
- Propagation method: Division, seed, cuttings
There will be more and more new varieties of this plant coming onto the market and in my opinion deservedly so. This is a hardy plant with wonderful fall color and the newer hybrids are spectacular in the flower border.
‘Crown of Rays’ has golden-yellow blooms that are grown horizontally from the stems giving the plant a rather mop-headed look. 24 to 30” tall.
‘Golden Wings’ 48” and one of the older hybrids but still one of the heavier blooming forms in bright yellow.
‘Fireworks’ 36 to 48” Massive sprays of bright-yellow flowers.
‘Golden Fleece’ has spreading branches of gold flowers in early fall and at 12” to 18” tall makes a good groundcover.
‘Praecox’ is a gold-yellow form with upright flowers growing to 24 to 30”.
Grow this plant in almost any soil but heavy clay. It grows best in full sun in a fertile soil without water stress. This is a plant well-suited for the back of herbaceous borders where it can be allowed to grow to its full majesty. Rogue out seedlings as they will not breed true to their hybrid parentage. Expand the collection by division of the mature plant in early spring.
You might want to label the plants with a large label. The first time I installed one of these in my gardens, I forgot about it. Without a large label to remind me, the next summer when I saw a goldenrod starting to grow in the garden, I assumed it was a weed and popped it out. It was only that fall that I remembered about the new goldenrod and wondered what had happened to it. I said I was a gardener, I didn’t say I had a good memory. I now use a really big stake label every time I put one of these in my garden.
Potions and Poisons
This plant has been used as a stimulant and an aromatic. Apparently it is excellent when used for bladder stones according to the older herbals. When made into tea, it apparently is excellent for diphtheria. The tea has been given to infants for diuretics and headaches so it should not be a problem in the garden. As with all plants though, children should not be allowed to consume it unattended.
Goldenrods have been given a bad bit of press when it comes to hayfever symptoms. Their bright-yellow blooms stand out across the country just as the symptoms strike so naturally they were blamed. The fact of the matter is that their pollen is quite heavy and sinks to the ground when knocked off the plant. The pollen doing the damage is from the ragweed plant; its green flowers are inconspicuous and the clouds of pollen it releases can float for miles in gentle breezes.