the journey south from Canada, monarchs will find
goldenrods to be a valuable source of nectar.
is nothing to sneeze at. Sure many people thinks it is
the cause of hay fever, but the real culprit is ragweed,
which usually blooms at the same time. Iíll readily
admit I have just about never met a goldenrod I didnít
like. Iíll confess that the first time I wrote about
the attributes of goldenrods I received scowls from
nursery industry friends. Today, however, everyone is
looking for the best, and for that I am most grateful.
I tout any variety I want to challenge you, as you drive
to football games or a neighboring Oktoberfest, to pay
attention to the roadside and Mother Natureís display
of goldenrods, often partnered with the purple blooms of
the ironweed. You cannot beat this complementary color
the last few years, however, I have started to pay
attention to the butterfly and pollinator activity of
goldenrods and have come to realize that this member of
the aster family holds its own when it comes to
butterflies. I regularly see monarchs feasting, as well
as common buckeyes and gulf fritillaries. Recently for
the first time, however, I noticed red-banded
hairstreaks and, my favorite of all, the great purple
plants are indeed worthy of a prime spot in the
perennial garden or the backyard wildlife habitat,
bringing the late summer and fall garden alive. They donít
require the most luxuriant of soils to perform and put
on a show but do require good drainage to develop one of
those picturesque stands.
them in sun for best flower production, Should your
drainage be suspect, plant on raised beds, While
preparing the bed, incorporate a pound of a 5-10-5
fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed space. Plant them
boldly in drifts 18 to 24 inches apart, or as
recommended for your particular selection. This may mean
planting to the middle or the back of the border.
the late fall cut back frozen foliage to the ground.
Goldenrod is a prolific spreader, sometimes by seed and
often by the roots, which is an attribute loved by most
gardeners. Pluck unwanted plants and prune to keep
within its designated area. If you want to divide, do so
with the onset of spring growth.
goldenrods with plants like sea holly, globe thistle,
Russian sage, Mexican bush sage and the new Amistad
salvia. They also excel with lantanas and purple
gomphrena. In addition to ironweed youíll also notice
roadsides where they are partnered with the blue native
mistflowers or conocliniums, which are also butterfly
are a lot of varieties now showing up both in catalogues
and garden centers. Leading dwarf varieties are Baby
Gold, Cloth of Gold, Golden Baby and Golden Fleece.
Taller varieties youíll want to try are Fireworks and
Golden Wings. The one in our garden that has me
completely mesmerized is Lynn Lowrey.
Lowrey, the late famous native plant nurseryman in
Texas, selected this variety of Solidago rugosa, which
is much taller than the Fireworks of the same species.
Our clump is pushing five feet in height and probably
six feet in width and is truly magnificent. When it
comes to pollinators, you are their heroes, and with
goldenrod youíll hit a homerun for them and the