Sunday, October 3, 2010

Goldenrod --Set Off Some Fireworks This Fall

Rough-stemmed goldenrod (Solidago rugosa) grows in low woods, meadows and bogs in the eastern half of North America.. ‘Fireworks’ (USDA zones 4–8) has a more compact plant habit than the species. This early blooming cultivar provides a long floral show starting in mid-August and lasting thru Thanksgiving, weather permitting.

Flowers spikes are numerous and held in tight clusters on upright stems. The yellow, thread-like, cascading sprays of flowers do attracts many insect pollinators; the pollen does not cause allergies as once believed.

Goldenrods grow best in full sun to light shade. While they prefer moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil, established plants flourish in hot, humid and dry summers. Surprisingly, goldenrod tends to grow weak lateral shoots in soils that are organically rich.

'Fireworks' spreads quickly by seed and underground rhizomes and needs to be divide every 2-3 years . This upright herbaceous perennial grows 3 - 4 feet tall and 2 – 2.5 feet wide. Remove old flowers to encourage re-blooming. Deadhead or remove spent blooms on 'Fireworks' to generate added lateral floral sprays into late October and November. Removal of seed heads reduces re-seeding threat.

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