The Truth About Golden Rod

The Truth About Golden Rod

Golden Rod

By Eileen Johnson, Weston Nurseries Horticulturist

Solidagos, more commonly known as goldenrods, are native perennials seen blooming abundantly in sunny meadows in late summer. But they are plagued with an image problem. For years people with hay fever have been unjustly pointing fingers at it as the cause of their suffering. Many people use the terms goldenrod and ragweed interchangeably when in fact they are two distinct plants. Goldenrod and ragweed tend to live side by side and bloom at the same time. But ragweed, a 3-4 foot tall plant with highly dissected, lacy green leaves and inconspicuous green flowers, is barely noticeable when growing alongside a bright yellow stand of goldenrod. It is no wonder then that goldenrod is blamed for causing fall allergies. The truth is that pollen grains of goldenrod are quite large and are incapable of becoming windborn like the pollen of ragweed.

There are literally dozens of different varieties of goldenrod varying in height and flower structure, but their common trait is that they all bear yellow flowers at summer’s end. They are an important late season food source for honeybees, migrating butterflies and other nectar seeking insects so are an appropriate choice for inclusion in a butterfly garden. Because some goldenrods can be aggressive spreaders, care must be exercised when choosing a variety for use in a home garden. One of my personal favorites is a variety called ‘Fireworks’ which grows roughly 3 feet tall with 15 inch lateral sprays of golden yellow flowers radiating off of the stem in all directions, giving the plant a rather wild appearance. ‘Fireworks’ blooms in mid September, later than many of the others. Another very distinctive variety is ‘Little Lemon’, a hybrid which remains short at 12 inches. Beginning in August, ‘Little Lemon’ bears very chunky light lemony yellow flowers, a color which works in so many combinations. Try combining goldenrods with grasses for a subtle fall display, or with pink and blue asters for something more vivid. But do consider them for adding color to your fall garden.

Share Via:


Weston Nurseries is committed to being a center for horticultural knowledge. Enjoy!

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Search in posts
Search in pages

Shops Trees, Shrubs, & Perennials – in stores and online.


Online Shopping at Weston Nurseries

We are excited to offer two unique opportunities to shop online at Weston Nurseries.

Farm To Door™

WN Online Shopping icons_Ship to Door
Plants shipped directly to you!

Browse our online inventory for a huge selection of plants available to ship directly from the farm to your home! Anywhere in New England!*

Shop Our Garden Centers

WN Online Shopping icons-02
Great for large plants and larger orders!

Shop your local store for plants, garden supplies, soil, mulch and more. Then pick up your order at the garden center or arrange for local drop off!

If you are interested in ordering gift cards, please click here!
*Some restrictions may apply to certain states.



Come into any of our garden centers at Hopkinton, Hingham, or Chelmsford starting today, December 15th and save on Balsam Fir Christmas Trees while supplies last!

Also this is the LAST CHANCE to earn Holiday Dollars! (thru Dec 17)

*Sale Fine Print:For “Cash and Carry” transactions only. Offer good while supplies last.

No open orders or deliveries for future dates. All Flash Sale products must be taken the same day. Not valid on previous orders. No transfers allowed between stores on any sale items.

Skip to content