solidago

One of the lovely sights in the late summer / early fall, when much of the garden is winding down, fading, losing its spring and early-summer luster, is the emergence of the late-flowering perennials.

And among these Solidago canadensis is one of the most vibrant. Plumes of bright golden yellow flowers top the upright, slender stems that can reach a height of as much as six feet or more. Some of the stems will topple, and either need to be staked or removed; if you want to do neither, or if you'd like your plants to be a little shorter and fuller, you can pinch back the growing tips in the late spring.

Our native goldenrod is ideal for the back of the border, both for the fact that they tower over all other flowers but the tallest dahlias, and because the bottom twelve inches or so at the base are often bare, and so benefit from having that fact hidden behind some lower growing plants. (And medium-height plants growing in front of the goldenrod can help prop up any leaning stems).

Solidago canadensis - Goldenrod
Solidago canadensis: Goldenrod

Of the more than seventy species of Solidago native to North America, only a small handful of them make their home in the Pacific Northwest; most of them are the taller, upright variety, though there is one alpine variety, S. spathulata, that is both small and for dry conditions, an excellent candidate for a container or rock garden. The upright varieties are more flexible in terms of sun and water: Full sun to partial shade will suit them equally, and though they prefer average amounts of water, will tolerate drier conditions (which will also keep their spread by underground rhizomes a bit in check; they also can spread by seed, so don't be surprised to see them occasionally appear a ways from their original location, usually where they find a more well-watered site). Of all of these, Solidago canadensis is by far the most commonly available species.

And let me put this debate to rest: Goldenrod does not cause allergic reaction or hay-fever; it has long been confused with another plant that is similar in appearance, tansy ragwort (Ambrosia sp.).

Relatively maintenance free and untroubled by most pests and diseases, it is also highly favored by butterflies and many other beneficial insects. The seeds after flowering are a good autumn food source for song birds. It is a useful plant to have in your garden, as well as a sunny, refreshing burst of late-season color.

Find Natives for your garden

We offer a great selection of Northwest Natives from spring through fall. The plants featured are highlighted favorites, but they do not represent ALL of the plants we carry. For a more complete list, see our Northwest Native Plant List.

Natives

Abies: Native Fir

Natives

Acer Circinatum: Vine Maple

Natives

Actaea: Bugbane

Natives

Aquilegia: Columbine

Natives

Arbutus: Pacific Madrone

Natives

Asarum: Wild Ginger

Natives

Asclepias: Milkweed

Natives

Attracting Butterflies

Natives

Camassia: Camas

Natives

Ceanothus: Wild Lilac

Natives

Cornus sericea

Red Twig Dogwood
Natives

Corylus cornuta

Beaked Hazelnut
Natives

Dodecatheon: Shooting Star

Natives

Edible Fruits

Natives

Erigeron: Fleabane

Natives

Eriophyllum: Oregon Sunshine

Natives

Native Ferns

Natives

Fragaria: Wild Strawberry

Natives

Gaultheria shallon: Salal

Natives

Holodiscus: Oceanspray

Natives

Attracting Hummingbirds

Natives

Native Iris

Natives

Lewisia: Bitterroot

Natives

Mahonia: Oregon Grape

Natives

Malus fusca

Western Crabapple
Natives

Osmaronia: Indian Plum

Natives

Penstemon: Beard Tongue

Natives

Philadelphus: Mock Orange

Natives

Physocarpus

Western Ninebark
Natives

Pinus: Native Pine

Natives

Quercus: Garry Oak

Natives

Rhamnus: Cascara

Natives

Ribes: Wild Currant

Natives

Rosa: Wild Rose

Natives

Rubus: Salmonberry

Natives

Sambucus: Elderberry

Natives

Sedum: Stonecrop

Natives

Sidalcea: Checker Mallow

Natives

Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed Grass
Natives

Solidago: Goldenrod

Natives

Symphoricarpos: Snowberry

Natives

Synthyris: Native Figwort

Natives

Trillium: Wake Robin

Natives

Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Natives

Vancouveria: Inside-out Flower

Natives

Viburnum trilobum

Cranberrybush
Natives

Viola: Violet

Natives

Winter Interest