Golden rod – Solidago x hybrida

Bold sprays of flowers in summer. The garden hybrids of these hardy herbaceous plants are tough and tolerant of even the poorest soils. They need little help to produce their striking plumes of golden-yellow flowers in the summer months.

ANNUAL CALENDAR

SPRING

March-April:

Plant out in the flowering site and stake taller varieties. Divide roots and replant.

Thin out new shoots if necessary by as much as three-quarters.

SUMMER

July-September:

Flowering season depends on variety. Water if weather is very dry.

AUTUMN

October:

Last flowering of late-flowering varieties. October-November: Cut down flowering stems. Divide roots and replant. Plant out in flowering site.

WINTER

December-February:

Plant lies dormant.

Thinning out

If left alone, golden rod can make so many shoots in the spring that it becomes overcrowded, diminishing the display of flowers.

To prevent this, thin plants regularly from their second year onwards.

IMPORTANT

Some varieties of golden rod flourish so freely that they might grow out of bounds.

Be sure to divide the plant’s roots every 1 or 2 years to control spread. Golden rod can also rapidly use up the nutrients in the soil unless lifted, divided and replanted regularly.

A vailable in a range of heights and forms, the garden varieties of golden rod are versatile border plants with clouds of small yellow flowers.

Almost all the golden rod plants grown in the garden are hybrids. Some species of the Solidago genus, which contains about 100 species, cross-breed very easily and proper classification is difficult.

Today’s garden hybrids generally come from crosses of the tall, vigorous common golden rod (Solidago canadensis), and the shorter Solidago vir-ganrea. The differences between these two species give rise to hybrids with a range of characteristics.

Generally, however, the golden rod’s flowers come into bloom between July and October. They grow either on sprays that spread horizontally, or on feather-like clusters at the ends of the stems. The flowers themselves are all tiny and bright yellow.

Lift and separate

Propagation of golden rod is quite simple. Just divide the roots of the plant in autumn or spring and replant in the growing site.

STAKE OUT

The taller golden rod varieties need to be staked to prevent them falling or getting blown over in strong winds. Use several stakes and arrange them so that they fan out slightly.

This encourages the plant to spread and open out into an attractive shape as it grows. Try to arrange the stakes so that the supports are hidden by the growing plant. Golden rod stakes need not be as tall as the plant’s eventual height. They will give enough support if they reach only about a half to two-thirds up the stem.

POPULAR VARIETIES

Varieties differ in height middle of a border.

Flowering period, and shape, ‘Goldenmosa’ grows in of flower-head. ‘Golden, clumps to 1m. Best for the Thumb’ reaches just 30cm back of the border is with a bushy habit ‘Golden Wings’, at 1.5m ‘Lemore’ and ‘Laurin’ both, high and with an upright reach 60cm and suit the, growth habit.

Golden rod

SITUATION

Ideally in full sun in a herbaceous or mixed border. Golden rod tolerates partial shade. Taller varieties should be put at the back of the border and shorter ones in the middle.

SOIL

Prefers well-drained soil, but any ordinary garden soil will do. Golden rod is very tolerant of a wide range of soil types and can thrive on soils too poor for other plants.

CARE

Plant out in autumn or early spring. Stake taller varieties. Increase by division in spring or autumn. Cut down flowering stems in mid-autumn.

PLANT HEALTH

Leaves that have been pulled together with a web have been attacked by tortrix caterpillars. Remove these pests by hand or spray the plant with a suitable insecticide. A white powderlike coating on the stems and leaves, and occasionally the flowers, is likely to be a fungal infection causing powdery mildew. Remove and burn diseased areas in mid-autumn and spray every 14 days during the following year’s growing season with a suitable fungicide. Alternatively, you can treat powdery mildew by removing any severely afflicted areas and dusting the plant with flowers of sulphur.

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