Don’t Blame Goldenrod

Goldenrod—Solidago virgaurea

Mention Goldenrod, and most people think of allergies. Yet, this showy, late-summer perennial is receiving a bad rap. The insect-pollinated flowers do not release pollen into the air. It’s ragweed, blooming at the same time, that usually causes any sniffles. Goldenrod, with its fireworks displays of yellow flower clusters, deserves to be much more appreciated.

The hardy plants range from two to four feet tall, depending on cultivar, and look best planted in groups of five or more. They prefer full sun and amended, moist soil, although they can adapt to drier conditions.  The blooms attract butterflies. Try planting goldenrod with other semi-xeric flowers such as Shasta daisies, or purple asters or coneflowers to provide a welcome contrast.

Most garden cultivars are hybrids derived from either our native species or those imported from Europe. Self-sown plants may not come true to form, so flowers should be deadheaded before seeds mature.