Solidagos (Goldenrod)

Goldenrod is a native plant that is deer resistant. It does NOT cause hayfever (ragwort does) and is bee pollinated. It is one of THE most important pollinator plants, especially for fall. Many goldenrods have medicinal uses and were widely used by Native Americans. The genus name, Solidago, is Latin for Solidus and means " to make whole." This references the plant's healing properties. The flowers are often used as botanical dye plants. Goldenrod galls shelter overwintering larvae that provide food for birds in the early spring. 

Solidagos support the highest number of pollinators and beneficial insects of any genus of native perennials in New England!

S. bicolor- Silverrod 

The only goldenrod on the east coast with white flowers! Blooms in September/October. Tolerant of deep shade and woodland conditions as well as clay soil. 1-3’ tall. Seeds are eaten by songbirds.

S. caesia- Bluestem goldenrod, Wreath goldenrod
This is the ideal goldenrod for shade or full sun. It tolerates dry or average soil conditions. It is not invasive- it is clumping forming growing 2-3’ tall and 16-20” wide. It is a long bloomer, late August thru early October. A very easy goldenrod, a gardenworthy species that should be used more often. A great, long-lasting cut flower.

S. canadensis- Canada goldenrod
This is a very invasive species that will seed into your garden or meadow and take over. A THUG!

S. flexicaulis- Zig Zag goldenrod
An excellent species for woodland gardens. Flowers grow 2-3’ tall and their stems are distinctively zig-zag in form! September/October blooming. A larval food plant for some moth species. Spreads steadily by rhizomes but is not invasive. Very good in shady gardens.

S. graminifolia- (new name Euthamia graminifolia)- Slender goldentop
The leaves on this plant are thin and narrow. 2-4’ tall stems are topped with flattened clusters of yellow flowers. An excellent choice for heavy, clay soils and moist sites. Full sun or partial shade. Spreads by rhizomes, may become aggressive if the conditions are right. Very attractive to butterflies and pollinators. Will also self-sow. Seeds are eaten by songbirds. 

S. juncea- Early goldenrod
One of our earliest blooming goldenrods, with bright yellow, mildly fragrant flowers in July and August. Grows 2-4’ tall and spread by rhizomes. For full sun or partial shade. A bit aggressive for smaller gardens, but very useful for early flowers that attract lots of pollinators. 

‘Little Lemon’
12-18” tall. Forms a clump 18-24” wide. Soft, lemon-yellow color, very useful in garden design. Full sun. Average to moist soil. Drought tolerant once established. 

S. nemoralis – Gray goldenrod
12-24” tall. Grey-green foliage.  Full sun or partial shade. Spreads 12-24” wide. Lean or sandy soils. One of the shortest and most compact of the goldenrods. Will also self-seed.

S. odora- Sweet goldenrod
3-4’ tall. Full sun or partial shade. Native to dry, sandy, open woods. Anise scented, glossy leaves. This variety has herbal uses. A great goldenrod species for the perennial garden.
From the New Moon Nursery website: Solidago odora is of particular importance as a pollen and nectar source for native bees. This species is called blue mountain tea due to the medicinal tea that can be prepared from the leaves.  After the Boston Tea Party, colonists drank a concoction called Liberty Tea made from Solidago odora and Ceanothus americanus blended with clover and betony.

S. puberula- Downy goldenrod
Excellent choice for full sun or dappled sun at the edge of the woods and rocky, lean soils. A CT native. Clump forming and well behaved. Large, basal leaves with a wand-like flower stalks reaching 12-18” tall. Host plant for many moths and good for pollinators and beneficial insects. August/September blooming.

S. rigida- Stiff Leaf goldenrod
This is a keystone species, very important for pollinators and lepidoptera hosting 104 caterpillar species and attracting 42 specialist bees. It spreads by rhizomes and self-sows, so it is not a good choice for smaller gardens. Grows 3-5’ tall and tolerates a wide range of soils from clay to sand. A favorite nectar source for migrating monarchs. The ripe seeds are beloved by birds. 

S. rigida spp. humilis ‘Golden Rocket’- a subspecies of stiff leaf goldenrod, 2’ tall with a dense, rounded form. Excellent cut flower

    S. rugosa ‘Fireworks’
    2 ½-3’ tall. Clumping habit, spreading slowly to 36” across. Spreads by rhizomes, slowly in poor, rocky soil and vigorously in rich soil. Sun or shade. Average to moist soil. Flowers on graceful, arching wands. Sept./Oct. bloomer. An excellent, ornamental variety for the late season garden. Good cut flower.

    S. sempervirens- Seaside goldenrod
    Very tolerant of lean, sandy, rocky soils and direct salt spray. Late Sept.-early Nov. blooming. A very important nectar plant for migrating monarchs. Thick, fleshy leaves, bright golden yellow flowers on 2-4’ stems. 

    S. shortii ‘Solar Cascade’
    Clump forming, not invasive, this goldenrod grows 2-3’ tall and 1-2’ wide. Tolerates full sun or partial shade and once acclimated, will even grow in fairly dry shade. The golden yellow flowers arch gracefully, thus the name. Glossy, clean foliage.

    S. speciosa- Showy goldenrod
    2-3’ tall. Sun to light shade. Will grow in open woodlands or full sun. VERY drought tolerant. Clump forming, does not spread by rhizomes. Can begin blooming in July and continue into September. Very showy, flowers that form long, arching plumes.

    S. sphacelata‘Golden Fleece’-Autumn goldenrod
    10” tall clumps of semi-evergreen foliage. Flowers grow 18-24” tall. Considered a groundcover when planted in drifts as it outcompetes the weeds. Each individual plant will form a tidy clump 24-36” wide. Full sun. Drought tolerant. Heart shaped leaves. Introduced by Dick Lighty from Mt. Cuba Center.

    Very dark green leaves and lemon-yellow flowers in late summer and early fall. 12-18” tall, well-branched, mounded habit. Full sun is best. Excellent choice for perennial gardens, a good late bloomer for butterflies. 

    In an effort to provide horticultural information, these educational documents are written by Nancy DuBrule-Clemente and are the property of Natureworks Horticultural Services, LLC.  You are granted permission to print/photocopy this educational information free of charge as long as you clearly show that these are Natureworks documents.