Goldenrods imporant in fall gardens

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Blue-stemmed Goldenrod

Solidago caesia


Unlike most goldenrods, this native perennial grows in woodlands and is a good choice for a

shade garden. Little clusters of golden flowers are spaced along arching stems that become

bluish as they age in late fall, the reason for the common name. The flowers are spaced with

oblong leaves that have teeth and are sharply pointed, growing alternate on the stem. The

plant never gets too tall, growing 1-3 feet in height.

Blue-stemmed goldenrod forms clumps and does not spread aggressively. While the plant

prefers dappled light and well-drained soils, it will tolerate dry, rocky soil and drought. A shaded

butterfly garden or woodland edge would be a desirable location.

Native wildlife love all goldenrods — the flowers are always crawling with native bees, wasps,

and pollinating flies that collect nectar and pollen from the flowers, and songbirds eat the

seeds. Deer and rabbits seem to leave it alone, although there are reports of deer browse on

the leaves in woods.

Goldenrods do not cause hay fever. All members of the aster family produce pollen that is

heavy and sticky and requires insects for pollination. Allergic reactions are caused by wind-

pollinated plants like ragweed, grasses and trees like maple and pine that produce large

amounts of light pollen carried on air.

Goldenrods are important in fall gardens, producing food for overwintering wildlife while other

plants no longer make flowers and seeds. The golden flowers are stunning with late-blooming

white and purple asters, all providing ecosystem services.


HELEN HAMILTON is past president of the John Clayton Chapter, Virginia Plant Society. For more information about native plants, visit