Solidago fireworks are beautiful in autumn and good for butterflies, bees and birds | Columnists


Laurie Rubner

Solidago is commonly referred to as Goldenrod. Now, before you stop reading this article because you feel your eyes watering and your nose starting to tickle at the mere mention of goldenrod, remember it’s ragweed, not ragweed. goldenrod, which causes allergies.

Plus, Solidago Fireworks is so much more appealing than its ragged, roadside relative.

Solidago Fireworks literally has its roots in North Carolina. In the 1970s a factory rescue took place near an engine repair shop in the countryside near Wilson.

The plants were moved to a coastal display garden. After a few years, an elegant and unique goldenrod became visible, catching everyone’s attention with its beautiful yellow sheaves. It was finally introduced in 1993 by Ken Moore of the NC Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill and is aptly named Fireworks.

This plant is easy to grow, reaching 3 feet tall on slender but strong stems, which have stayed upright, even after some of the heavy storms we’ve had this summer. It grows well in full sun. Mine originally started out in full sun but now gets a lot more shade and doesn’t seem to care.

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During the summer, it makes an excellent backdrop for summer-flowering perennials, creating a strong contrast with its dark green foliage. At the end of summer, flower clusters begin to form. In September, the clusters, radiating in all directions, are bright yellow and resemble the shimmering trail of exploding fireworks.

People aren’t the only ones who find this plant a great addition to the garden. Migratory butterflies load up on nectar at the start of their fall migration. Bees rely on pollen to build up their winter reserves. Finches and sparrows like seeds. To top it off, it is deer resistant.

This perennial makes an excellent cut flower, singly or in arrangements, lasting several weeks. I leave my Solidago standing almost all winter. The stems will be bare, but the clusters of brown flowers are still attractive and add texture to the winter garden.

Around February I cut it down to the ground where you will notice a small patch of evergreen foliage, waiting for spring to arrive.

Laurie Rubner is the owner and operator of Arbor Garden Center in Bethlehem.


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