PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)

This is the plant for you if your goal is to get small, winged pollinators very, very excited from mid to late summer. The flowers offer both nectar and pollen for innumerable wild native bees, non-stinging wasps, butterflies, moths, honey bees, and hummingbirds. Goldenrod is largely considered to be the most important plant for a wide range of pollinators.

The plant encourages gluttony among the visiting pollinators. Goldenrod cannot pollinate itself, it needs the insect air crews to transport pollen from one plant to the pistils of another plant in order to produce viable seeds. Goldenrod will spread into a colony by dropping seeds and by its rhizomatous roots going on adventures. It’s easy to control, though.

Goldenrod is often, and incorrectly, blamed for producing irritating pollen that causes hay fever. It’s not true. Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is the culprit for that. Goldenrod’s pollen grains are so large and heavy, they can’t travel far by wind, and are like giant gold nuggets to the bees who collect most of them.

Plant Goldenrod in the middle to back of a sunny perennial flower garden or at the borders of a landscape. It will get 2-4 feet tall with sturdy stems covered in gracefully narrow leaves, each stem topped with a cone shaped spray of tiny, brilliant, golden yellow blooms.