• ljmarkson

Plant a Glorious Goldenrod Garden This Year!

Updated: Jan 11

OR Do You Think Growing 19 Varieties of Goldenrod is Enough?! I currently have more varieties of goldenrod than any other native plant in my yard. Despite initially labeling each one when I planted them, I can’t identify all of them with certainty anymore.

I label all my plants once, but sometimes they get a bit lost in the wildness of my yard; including my downy ragged goldenrod which isn't anywhere near this marker!

My grand plan to fix this situation is to plant a goldenrod garden in an area where my small vegetable garden was. It's sort of a goldenrod reset. The reality is I buy 95% of my seasonal organic produce at the many local Atlanta farmers markets. I’ll still continue to plant a little food for fun in my community garden bed and multiple patio planters. My new goldenrod garden area will run along the back deck and is perfect for different growing needs because it goes from slightly shady and damp at one end to sunny and dry at the other.

My little vegetable garden area is the perfect spot to create a goldenrod garden. I might still grow my longbeans on the trellis though.

One of my ongoing goals is to contribute to a stronger pollinator pathway through Atlanta with native plants, and goldenrod is one of the top powerhouse pollinators. Hopefully I can use my goldenrod bed to eventually populate other areas of my yard and still have plenty of plants to share with others so they can establish more biodiverse ecosystems in their yard.

I'm happy to share my goldenrod with anyone who doesn't use chemicals in their yard and wants to add native plants to strengthen our Atlanta pollinator pathway.

I’m winter sowing the seeds of the new varieties I want to add to my naturescape. This is a more protected way of germinating seeds outside by planting them in containers with lids which basically makes little individual greenhouses. The benefit of winter sowing is the seedlings are growing as close to the way they would in nature as possible, they’re stronger than plants grown inside, and more successful when transplanted in the ground. Last year I had an 80% success rate winter sowing and my fingers are crossed 🤞 that this year will be even better!

If goldenrod is a powerhouse keystone native plant, then adding a dozen and a half varieties to my yard has to be a good thing, right?

My goldenrod garden will have the 9 varieties growing in my yard that I can identify with certainty plus the 10 varieties listed below along with some basic information about them. I don’t yet know how they will grow in my Atlanta yard so can’t give any additional observations just yet. In general, the clumping varieties stay put and do better in a garden bed and the rhizomatous varieties tend to spread their wings. Ten Goldenrods I'm Adding to My Goldenrod Garden This Year

1) euthamia graminifolia - Flat-top or grass-leaved goldenrod (also known as solidago graminifolia): 3-4 feet, moist to wet soil, sunny to partial sun, rhizomatous 2) oligoneuron album-upland white goldenrod: 1 foot, dry soil, full sun, rhizomatous 3) oligoneuron riddellii-riddell’s goldenrod: 3 feet moist to wet soil, full sun, rhizomatous 4) oligoneuron rigidum – stiff goldenrod (also known as solidago rigida): 3-5 feet, average to wet soil, full sun to partial shade, clumping 5) solidago bicolor – white goldenrod: 1-2 feet, dry soil, full sun, clumping 6) solidago flexicaulis-zigzag goldenrod: 2-3 feet, moist to wet soil, partial shade, clumping 7) solidago gigantea-late goldenrod: 3-7 feet, average to wet soil, full sun to part shade, rhizomatous 8) solidago missouriensis – missouri goldenrod: 2 feet, dry soil, full sun, clumping 9) solidago odora – sweet goldenrod: 3 feet, average to dry soil, full sun, clumping 10) solidago rugosa-wrinkle-leaf goldenrod/rough goldenrod: 3-4 sun, average to wet soil, full sun to partial shade, clumping


Nine Goldenrods Now Growing in My Yard I’ve written more about the 9 following goldenrods in my last post; they're the ones already growing in my yard and I’ll divide them to add to my goldenrod garden. 1) solidago caesia – bluestem goldenrod: 2-3 feet, average to dry soil, part shade, clumping. 2) solidago juncea-early goldenrod goldenrod: 2-4 feet, dry soil, full sun, rhizomatous. 3) solidago nemoralis- grey or old field goldenrod: 1-2 feet, dry soil, sun to partial sun, rhizomatous 4) solidago odora var. chapmanii – chapman’s goldenrod: 3-4 feet, dry soil, sun to partial shade, rhizomatous 5) solidago patula- swamp goldenrod: 3-4 feet, average to moist soil, sun to part shade, rhizomatous 6) solidago petiolaris – downy goldenrod: 2-3 feet, dry soil, sun part shade, clumping 7) solidago rugosa ‘fireworks' – fireworks goldenrod cultivar: 2-4 feet, average to wet soil, sun to part shade, clumping 8) solidago speciosa – showy goldenrod: 2-3 feet, dry soil, sun, clumping 9) solidago ulminolia – elm-leaved goldenrod: 3 feet, average to moist soil, shade to part sun, rhizomatous

In the future I hope to definitively label all the goldenrods in my yard, like this one with a sweet native bee on it.

I’m not adding solidago altissima (tall or Canada goldenrod) to my goldenrod bed because it's a greedy spreader and already has a nice place to roam near the road in a tough section of my right of way strip. When other varieties become more assertive than I want in my goldenrod garden, I’ll also move them to areas of my yard where they can wander without worry where there is a hard boundary, along a fence or with other assertive natives.

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